Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: September 12, 2020 5:55 pm
Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo
Keepers at Oregon Zoo's Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation have evacuated a critical population of the endangered California condor as a wildlfire approached their breeding centre.
The centre located in Clackamas County on land owned by Metro, operator of the Oregon Zoo is located in a Level 3 evacuation zone. Currently it is uncertain what the future is for the facility or when the birds will return.
"It's been a tough week, but the best news is all our condors and staff members are healthy, uninjured and accounted for," said Travis Koons, who oversees the zoo's condor program. "The teamwork our animal-care staff displayed was nothing short of remarkable."
Following their evacuation the 44 birds housed at the center have been moved to two separate facilities. 26 birds are being driven to the Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho which had available enclosures.
Staff at the World Centre for Birds of Prey will care for two chicks that hatched at the center and are yet to fledge. This will include rearing them using puppets.
California condors in the wild
Photo Credit: Public Domain. USFWS
A further 18 California condors have moved to Oregon Zoo where two are on exhibit in their Condors of the Columbia habitat with the other 16 housed off display in the zoo's veterinary medical center.
As few as 500 California condors may remain in the wild. A federal release program exists for the birds but it took a big hit last month. Fires have destroyed the Ventana Wildlife Society's Big Sur sanctuary along the California coast. This was one of five sites where captive bred condors were released.
"That loss was devastating, and we still don't know the full impact of it," Koons said.
California condors remain critically endangered though numbers have recovered after dropping as low as 22 in 1982. These numbers have recovered due to conservation efforts from zoos such as Oregon Zoo.
Learn more about the California Condor – California Condor Fact File
Learn more about the Oregon Zoo on their website – Oregon Zoo
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