Magazine article Endangered Species Update

Condors Take Flight in Oregon Zoo's Conservation Facility

Magazine article Endangered Species Update

Condors Take Flight in Oregon Zoo's Conservation Facility

Article excerpt

The Oregon Zoo is "flying high" in their quest to restore wild condors to their native habitat in the Pacific Northwest. The California condor once ranged throughout the Pacific Northwest, displaying a magnificent wingspan of over nine feet and diving at incredible speeds of 80-100 mph. The last wild condors in Oregon were seen in 1904, and in 1987 there were only 17 left anywhere in the wild. Biologists decided to place the remaining condors into a captive breeding program in an attempt to save the species. In November 2003, the Oregon Zoo joined the San Diego Wild Animal Park, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the World Center for Birds of Prey to create the nation's fourth condor breeding program. The California Condor Recovery Program, coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is now one of the most successful endangered species recovery efforts in existence.

The year-old breeding program is a private project of the Oregon Zoo Foundation. The 50-acre Condor Creek Conservation Facility is located on 8,000 acres of public land in the Clackamas River drainage near Estacada, Oregon. Breeding condors is a spacious endeavor, with each pair requiring a minimum flight cage measuring 20 x 40 feet. Thirteen condors currently share this facility, which consists of 30-foot tall pens spread over one acre of land. Since these birds will eventually be released into the wild, the location and design of the condor pens allow for minimum human contact so that the condors don't associate or bond with their caretakers. …

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