Tags: california | condor | milestone | flight | died

California Condor Milestone Reached: More Took Flight Than Died

Image: California Condor Milestone Reached: More Took Flight Than Died
A rare and endangered California condor flies over Marble Gorge, east of Grand Canyon National Park, on March 24, 2007 west of Page, Arizona. (David McNew/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Feb 2016 02:14 PM

California condors have reached a milestone in their survival: Last year, more of the birds hatched and fledged than died in the wild.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials reported that 14 wild young condors took flight last year while 12 adult birds died, The Associated Press reported.

The largest bird in the North America, the California condor was near extinction in the 1980s, when the last 22 remaining of the species were captured to start a breeding program.

The recent milestone is evidence of the program’s success, program coordinator Eric Davis told the AP. Wildlife officials now count 268 wild condors and 167 in captivity. Captive breeding programs release 20 to 40 condors each year.

Weighing up to 25 pounds with wingspans reaching 10 feet, the California condor was among the first species protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Lead poisoning from bullet fragments in animal carcasses was blamed for the birds’ demise.

KCET-TV reported last month that ongoing lead toxicity concerns hamper the species from becoming self-sustaining. Other threats include wildfires, collisions with power lines, predation by mountain lions, and pesticides.

Davis is optimistic that the lead problem will be solved and the California condor will eventually be removed from the endangered species list.

"We've already removed it from gasoline, paint, toys, waterfowl ammunition. When I look out 25 years, I think the lead problem will be largely solved," he said, according to KCET.

A California condor hatched at the San Diego Zoo on Feb. 10, the first to hatch this year, CBS8.com News reported. The zoo’s California condor program has hatched 188 chicks and released 130 since it was established in 1982.

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California condors have reached a milestone in their survival: Last year, more of the birds hatched and fledged than died in the wild.
california, condor, milestone, flight, died
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2016-14-24
Wednesday, 24 Feb 2016 02:14 PM
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