California condors make progress This photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a juvenile California condor, identified as No. 428, wearing a GPS transmitter while perched at the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge near Maricopa, Calif. (Angela Woodside/Joseph Brandt/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)
California condors make progress
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A captive breeding program that at one time included every living California condor has passed a key milestone. It is helping North America's largest bird return to the wild.
 
For the first time in decades, more condors hatched and fledged in the wild last year than adult wild condors died. This is according to officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 
Fourteen young condors took flight. That was compared with 12 that died. Officials say it's a small difference. But it's a big step since the last 22 wild condors were captured in the 1980s. They started the breeding program that releases offspring into the wild.
 
"That's an indication that the program is succeeding," said Eric Davis. He is the Wildlife Service's coordinator for the California condor program. "We hope that wild birds start producing wild chicks. And that is what is happening more and more."
 
California condors in the wild outnumbered condors in captivity for the first time in 2011. This is since the start of the breeding program. The wild population has since grown to 268 wild condors, with 167 in captivity.
 
Officials also counted 27 wild condor nests last year. Nineteen were in California, three in the Arizona-Utah border area and five in Mexico's Baja Peninsula. Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona has a condor nest, officials said. So do Zion National Park in Utah and Pinnacles National Park in central California.
 
The captive breeding program continues with the Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey being the top egg producer. The center is near Boise, Idaho.  Six eggs were laid this spring.  Nine more are expected.
 
"So far it's going fantastic," said Marti Jenkins. She is condor propagation manager at the facility.
 
She said two eggs laid at the facility last year were placed in wild nests in California where eggs were either infertile or damaged. The replacement eggs produced fledglings. Officials counted them in the wild population.
 
Other facilities breeding California condors are the Oregon Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
 
Davis said about 20 to 40 condors, typically less than 2 years old, are released into the wild each year. They can live for about 60 years.
 
California condors can weigh as much as 25 pounds. They have wingspans up to 10 feet. They were among the first species to receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1973.
 
Officials say lead poisoning from eating bullet fragments in animals killed with lead bullets continues to be a threat. Of the 12 wild condor deaths in 2015, two were the result of lead poisoning.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are experts attempting to grow condor populations in the wild instead of in zoos?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (64)
  • rainar-kut
    3/03/2016 - 03:18 p.m.

    I think people are attempting to increase the population of condors because they were dying down very fast and in large numbers. It sounds like the article was trying to give lots of information about how many condors were dying, and there was a lot. I don't know if condors were/are endangered but it sure seems like they sure could. That is why experts are trying to re populate condors again, because they don't want them to go extinct, of corse.

  • tonyj-kut
    3/03/2016 - 05:18 p.m.

    I am glad that the condor population is now going up. Why were the condors endangered, hunted, removed so that they couldn't reach someone's land? Why? To answer the question ("Why are experts attempting to grow condor populations in the wild instead of in zoos?"). The answer is that they want the condors to be adapted to the environment. The experts would want the condors to know how to acquire their own food. In addition to that, the condors need to know how to survive.

  • rorys-1-bar
    3/03/2016 - 05:53 p.m.

    Experts are attempting to grow condor populations in the wild instead of in zoos because they want have a wild condors that are used to the wild instead of condors that are used to captivity. In the article it states that a program wants to "releases offspring into the wild." The scientists want to make it sos that the offspring of California condor is ready to adapt to the wild so that they can prosper.

    Opinion: I thought this article was fascinating because I always thought that the California condor was a cool animal and it makes me happy that their population is growing.

  • sethg-2-bar
    3/03/2016 - 09:53 p.m.

    Experts are attempting to grow condor populations in the wild instead of zoo because the condor population is beginning to grow again. Paragraph five states that " The wild population has since grown to 268 wild condors, with 167 in captivity." Hopefully in a few years the wild condor population will be much larger. I chose this article because condors live in California.

  • angelad-6-bar
    3/04/2016 - 12:41 a.m.

    Experts are attempting to grow populations in the wild instead of zoos because then the birds will be able to adapt to the wild's circumstances something captive birds cannot do making captive birds dependent of humans, something experts don't want. In paragraph one it explains that the breeding program is to help return the birds to the wild not kept them in zoos, "It is helping North America's largest bird return to the wild." I found this article interesting because I didn't even know California had Condors. I found this article surprising because of the time it has taken for the wild population to become greater then the captive population.

  • mckennaa-wal
    3/04/2016 - 09:50 a.m.

    I think this article was very interesting and very informative.

  • alexsandriav-obr
    3/04/2016 - 01:32 p.m.

    They can't grow condors in the zoos because they want there populations to grow because there species are becoming extinct. Condors are a great animal, but with there species becoming extinct it would be hard to learn about them. They are becoming extinct is becaue when they lay eggs, after they hatch after a few months the mother and father condors die and that is another reason why they are becoming extinct.

  • samanthas-1-ste
    3/04/2016 - 02:08 p.m.

    The experts want the condors to grow in the wild because that is their natural habitat. Many animals do not live as long in the zoo, so the wildlife is a better place for them to grow up in. It is amazing that this breed is making a big comeback in such a difficult place to live.

  • lancet-612-
    3/04/2016 - 03:01 p.m.

    While I was reading this passage I relived just how endangered these birds are and reason is I never even heard of these birds also which made me believe this.

  • paulo-hol
    3/04/2016 - 09:24 p.m.

    This article was very interesting especially because I like animals.It is very inportant to take care of animals since they could become extinct.And I very glad that they are recovering.

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