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 in 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 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 to start 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."
 
In 2011, California condors in the wild for the first time outnumbered condors in captivity 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 near Boise, Idaho, being the top egg producer. Six eggs were laid this spring and nine more are expected.
 
"So far it's going fantastic," said Marti Jenkins, 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 attributed to 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 (45)
  • reidi-4-bar
    3/03/2016 - 06:04 p.m.

    A captive breeding program has worked to help North Americas largest bird return to the wild, the condor. For th first time in decades more condors hatched and fledged. Fourteen young condors got freed. That is an indication that the program is succeeding. I think it is very cool that people are saving birds.

  • jacks-6-bar
    3/03/2016 - 06:55 p.m.

    Experts are attempting to grow condor populations in the wild instead of zoos because the wild will can preserve their species, saving them for extinction, and to adapt to their ideal habitat. The article states: "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." If the Condor species is prospering while in the wild and not in zoos or other captivity, the wild, producing more offspring, is a suitable, ideal habitat for the birds. This i so because, if the wild brings more condors than loosing them, it might save their species for extinction, slowly gaining numbers to their population. This overpowers the option of raising them in captivity because, the article claims, the population of condors in the wild already exceeded the number of them bred and raised in captivity. Since the wild aquires more condors than those in captivity do, it is more beneficial to their numbers, adding on to them faster than zoos, etc. do for the birds. All in all, condors being released to the wild is much more beneficial than they being held captive, being more beneficial for them not going extinct and prospering.
    The wild not only increases their numbers better than captivity does, but it also perfects their skills. The article states that "about 20 to 40 condors, typically less than 2 years old, are released into the wild each year." Obviously, if condors need to be released at the age of two, a tiny fraction relative to their entire lifespan, it must be crucial for condors to spend a significant amount of time adapting to wildlife. In zoos or other forms of captivities, their habitats are quite minimized, and most spoil them, being fed food. The wild will give them knowledge of how to fend for themselves, since, of course, there won't be anyone feeding or sharing food, or providing other necessities. This is necessary because, if adapting to wildlife, they have the potential for surviving it. If they survive (and if adapted, they probably will), then it will add to their dwindling numbers, and eventually ease them. They can't survive in captivities or zoos because, one, they are already be released at the young age of two, and two, captivities will prevent them from receiving the knowledge of how to survive unaided when the task is bound to approach.
    I found this article frightening and sad; it scared me how profoundly low the numbers of living condors (but only 435) are. It provided awareness of how much the human race takes advantage of all surroundings.

  • sofiat-4-bar
    3/03/2016 - 11:11 p.m.

    Experts are attempting to grow condor populations in the wild instead of in zoos because if they can hatch and facilitate them the population could grow even bigger. Because "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." I find this interesting because I dont really see how these birds are important but there are always people that want to save the world and everything in it, although impossible and these creatures are part of it.

  • kamrync-obr
    3/04/2016 - 01:43 p.m.

    Experts are attempting to grow condor population in the wild, because they are hoping wild birds start producing wild chicks and that is happening more and more. They laid two eggs in a wild nest to replace the eggs that were damaged. The replacemant eggs produced fledglings. About twenty to fourty condors, mostly less then two years old are released in the wild each year. Experts are tryng to get condors in the wild.

  • tyn-2-bar
    3/04/2016 - 10:03 p.m.

    Experts are attempting to grow condor populations in the wild instead of zoos because it is more efficient. A study on the population California condors said "In 2011, California condors in the wild for the first time outnumbered condors in captivity since the start of the breeding program. The wild population has since grown to 268 wild condors, with 167 in captivity." Therefore, growing California condor populations in the wild is more efficient. Thus, the reason experts are now growing California condor populations in the wild instead of zoos.
    I think that I have too much homework for Language Arts and this is a waste of my time because we already review articles in our "Current Event" assignments for Social Studies.

  • lukem-orv
    3/08/2016 - 01:27 p.m.

    Because in the wild there is enough food, water, space to roam, and other things zoos don't have. Also at zoos there is too much people so they get scared, plus there is small cages and animals need all the space they deserve.

  • victoriak-ver
    3/09/2016 - 11:29 a.m.

    That's great that condors' population is growing. The progress is so good that there are finally more condors in the wild than in captivity.

  • charliet-orv
    3/09/2016 - 02:44 p.m.

    They do that because if we raise them in captivity they will live like captive animals. Next thing you know they will be domesticated. Even though they belong in the wild.

  • tiffanyf-1-bar
    3/09/2016 - 07:47 p.m.

    Experts are attempting to grow condor populations in the wild because she appear to have a better survival rate than in the captivity. The article states,"For the first time in decades, more condors hatched and fledged in the wild last year..." By enlarging the population in the wild, these birds can better adapt and survive than they would if they were bred in captivity. This article is interesting because this is the first I've heard of an endangered species having a better survival rate in the wild than in captivity.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    3/09/2016 - 11:26 p.m.

    I think that the condors who live are really lucky. Many are being bred and the condor population is being helped to grow and expand. 20 to 40 condors who are usually less than two years old are released. They can live to about sixty years. Many of the condors are being cared for by many companies. Many of them are being founded in many different parks and states. Some condors are being tagged by different companies and the companies are looking and tracking the condors. There are some death for the condors but most are surviving. There are also more condors in the wild than in captivity.

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