Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Condor Success Story in Pinnacles National Monument, California

Earlier this month, park biologists in Pinnacles National Monument, California, tracked a pair of California condors to the first condor nest built in the area in the last 100 years. Inside the nest, located in a cave on top of Resurrection Wall (a popular rock climbing spot) was a single egg.

This recent discovery bears testimony to the success story of the California condor. Forty years ago, no condors lived in Pinnacles National Monument, and in 1987, the world population of condors was a mere twenty-two. Westward expansion during the 19th century caused the decline of condors, as they suffered from lead poisoning from bullets lodged in the carcasses that they scavenged. Thanks to the efforts of conservationists, however, breeding programs began soon after, and the first condors were reintroduced into the wild in 1991 throughout the Southwest. Today, almost 400 condors can be seen in the wild in areas such as Big Sur, CA and Grand Canyon National Park, AZ.

The Pinnacles egg is not expected to hatch for the next three months, so in the meantime the area is closed to rock climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Please respect these closures, so that we can all view condors in the wild long into the future. Please visit the website for Pinnacles National Monument for any updates on condors and closures.

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