California Condor Release into the Wild Mar 27, 2014
Big Sur, CA– On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Standard time, four California condors will be released into the wild for the first time by Ventana Wildlife Society biologists. People around the world will have the ability to watch these endangered birds in real-time transition from captivity to life in the wild via a live-streaming webcam in Big Sur, California. “A typical condor release is largely uneventful as we want the birds to comfortably and slowly make this transition successfully. The actual release itself is just the opening of the enclosure door and is the kind of thing that is best watched over a period of days and even weeks since it is up to the condors what they do next” said Ventana Wildlife Society Executive Director, Kelly Sorenson.
This new viewing experience was made possible through collaboration between Ventana Wildlife Society and Oakland Zoo, with funding provided by FedEx and made possible through CamZone Networks. “CamZone was built on the popularity of animal cams,so partnering to help save the California condors was a great opportunity for our team to give back,” said Steve Walker, Business Development at CamZone Network. “Getting a camera on the condor release pen, in the wild was by far the most complicated job we have ever heard of. We are ecstatic with the finished product and honored to be part of such an amazing project. We are dedicated to continuing the support the condors with our commercial free hosting and future projects to help bring awareness to the condors' plight.”
One of the birds being released is condor #646 who suffered a broken wing in 2013 while still a chick. At just two months old,this female condor was recovered from the nest and taken to the Los Angeles Zoo for treatment. She is now ready to be released less than a mile from her parents and the nest she was born into.
“Conservation is a top priority at Oakland Zoo and being part of this project is exciting because we are directly involved with conveying the plight of the California condor to the public,” said Nancy Filippi, Managing Director. “This new camera and live release will give the public a chance to learn more about birds like condor#646, and stories like hers help people have an emotional connection to saving this species from extinction.” The other three condors being released are SB#s 631 (male), 650 (male),and 652 (male). 646 and 631 were born in spring 2011 and are almost three-years-old. 650 and 652 are nearly two-years-old and were born in 2012.This particular condor release is significant because eleven birds in Central California were lost in 2013 due to lead poisoning and other causes. As of as of January 31, 2014, there are a total of 410 living condors, of which 232 are in the wild. Fifty-eight condors reside in Central California. Besides the release site in Big Sur, condors are also being released in Baja California, Mexico, Southern California, and in Arizona near the Grand Canyon.
This new webcam along with the webcam installed in October of 2013, are tools that have transformed how field crews at Ventana Wildlife Society monitor the health of condors on a daily basis. “It can be stressful keeping track of a handful of birds when you know the entire wild population in California rests at just 128 individuals,but the Condor Cams allow us to do our job more efficiently and effectively,”said Joe Burnett, Senior Biologist at Ventana Wildlife Society. Through radio tags and webcams like this one, biologists attempt to determine the status of every condor each day, which is critically important given how few condors exist. This daily status information is used for ongoing research projects focused on condor survivorship, breeding success, and other vital statistics.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA CONDOR:
In 1987, the last wild California condor was taken into captivity to join the twenty-six remaining condors, in an attempt to bolster the population through a captive breeding program. Through the effort of California zoos and the Ventana Wildlife Society there are now about 232 California condors in the wild. For more than twenty years, Ventana Wildlife Society has made it a mission to save the bird from extinction by regularly trapping and treating condors suffering from high blood levels of lead. Prompt treatment has saved the lives of several birds in the flock. They monitor nests to ensure the greatest protection possible from potential threats to productivity. In 2013, Jerry Brown, Governor of California signed into law a phase out of lead ammunition throughout the state for all hunting. Lead from spent ammunition is the most significant problem for California condors and this new law gives hope for condor survival in the future; however, the new law, AB711, does not go into effect until 2019.
ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO:
The Bay Area’s award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid’s activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members,contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks.
About CamZone: San Diego based CamZone Networks has been providing live streaming webcams
for over a decade to Zoos and wildlife organizations across the United States. CamZone has a proven track record engineering complex solutions for custom and unique situations. Established in 1996, CamZone was a pioneer in the live streaming industry and continues to reach new milestones and breakthroughs to deliver the superb online experience expected in this day and age. If you can dream it we can stream it!!
ABOUT VENTANA WILDLIFE SOCIETY:
Founded in 1977, Ventana Wildlife Society led the way to successful reintroduction of the Bald Eagle and the California Condor, two of the most iconic birds in the world, to native habitats in central California. Through the course of their work, they developed an organizational culture that strongly values science,education and collaboration and regularly found ways for both wildlife and people to benefit from one another. VWS recovers individual species and tracks the populations of many others so that conservation can be timely as well as effective. Focusing on youth education, we better ensure that future generations have the willingness and capacity to help wildlife. Our vision is to have a society who cares for and supports wildlife across the planet,particularly in California.
AZA Members: Submit your Zoo & Aquarium News