Magazine article Science News

Happy Birthday, Condor Chick

Magazine article Science News

Happy Birthday, Condor Chick

Article excerpt

Happy birthday, condor chick

This is a face only a condor mom -- or a conservationist -- could love. It belongs to Molloko, the first California condor chick conceived and hatched in captivity. The chick, whose sex is yet to be determined, is a rare bird indeed. Counting this birth, there are only 28 California condors living, all of which reside at the San Diego Wild Animal Park or the Los Angeles Zoo.

While condors once ruled the western skies, the birds have soared close to extinction in modern times -- partly due to feeding on leadshot-poisoned carcasses abandoned by hunters as well as other hazards. The fate of some condors remains a mystery, since a few have disappeared without a trace. The 28 survivors are part of a controversial captive breeding program designed to increase their numbers before researchers begin their release in 1992. The last bird in the wild was captured one year ago (SN: 4/25/87, p. …

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