By KPTV Staff
PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — The Oregon Zoo welcomed 10 California condor chicks to the Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation – the largest batch in the zoo’s 18-year effort to save the endangered species.
The zoo said the final chick hatched on May 22 to an “experienced condor mom” No. 174 and her mate No. 471, who is a first-time dad.
The California condor was one of the original species placed in the 1973 Endangered Species Act and was designated as “critically endangered.” In 1982, only 22 birds remained in the wild, and in 1987 the last condors were placed in human care to save the species from extinction.
“We have more chicks than ever this year, which is fantastic news for the recovery effort,” said Kelli Walker, the zoo’s lead condor keeper. “It’s a significant step forward for this critically endangered species.”
Walker said there are scarcely 500 birds left in the world, and every new condor is important for the bird’s survival.
The world’s California condor population now totals around 500 birds, most of which are flying free. More than 80 chicks have hatched at the Jonsson Center since 2003, and more than 50 Oregon Zoo-reared birds have gone out to field pens for release.
The chicks will stay with their parents for at least eight months before moving into pre-release pens for about a year. They will eventually be released back into the wild to join free-flying condors in California and Arizona.