Endangered California Condors Will Fly in the Pacific Northwest for the First Time in a Century | Inside Edition

Endangered California Condors Will Fly in the Pacific Northwest for the First Time in a Century

California Condor
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There are now over 300 California condors in the wild, but they are still listed as endangered. One of the species’ primary threats is lead poisoning, which can happen if they ingest lead shots or fragments of lead bullets while feeding on dead animals.

It's been 100 long years since the California condors called the Pacific Northwest home, but now they are returning. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and the Yurok Tribe have worked together to facilitate a new release facility in order to reintroduce the iconic species to Yurok Ancestral Territory and Redwood National Park, which is the northern part of the species' historic range.

Per a press release, this facility will be operated by the Northern California Condor Restoration Program. Under the Endangered Species Act, the condors will be labeled as a nonessential, experimental population. This will provide flexibility in managing the reintroduced population. It will also reduce the regulatory impact of reintroducing the federally listed species and facilitate cooperative conservation.

Paul Souza, regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s California-Great Basin Region, explains this is possible because of various organizations working together. “The California condor is a shining example of how a species can be brought back from the brink of extinction through the power of partnerships. I would like to thank the Yurok Tribe, National Park Service, our state partners, and others, who were instrumental in this project. Together, we can help recover and conserve this magnificent species for future generations."

At one time, condors were found all over the U.S., from California to Florida, but because of poaching and poisoning, their population declined. In 1967, they were listed as endangered. In 1982, there were only 23 wild condors worldwide, and by 1987, they were placed into a captive breeding program to save them from extinction.

There are now over 300 California condors in the wild, but they are still listed as endangered. One of the species’ primary threats is lead poisoning, which can happen if they ingest lead shots or fragments of lead bullets while feeding on dead animals.

To ensure that condors are safe, many activities are prohibited within 656 feet of an occupied nest. They include removing trees, altering nest structures, helicopter overflights, or setting off fireworks or explosives.

The California condors are the largest soaring land birds in North America and have a massive wingspan of nearly 10 feet. Not only are the birds an essential member of their ecosystem, but they play a significant role in the spiritual and cultural beliefs of the many tribes throughout northern California and the Pacific Northwest.

Joseph L. James, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe, states, "For the last 20 years, the Yurok Tribe has been actively engaged in the restoration of the rivers, forests, and prairies in our ancestral territory. The reintroduction of the condor is one component of this effort to reconstruct the diverse environmental conditions that once existed in our region. We are extremely proud of the fact that our future generations will not know a world without prey-go-neesh. We are excited to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Redwood National Park on the final stages of the project and beyond."

If all goes well, the anticipated release of condors will be in fall 2021 or spring of 2022.

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