The first California condor chick of the season hatched at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on March 14, 2014. This chick is the 183rd to be hatched at the Safari Park through San Diego Zoo Global's California condor breeding program. The first hatched chick, and a second that hatched just a few days later on the 18th, will both be considered for future release into the wild.
When the organization first began its breeding program, there were only 22 California condors left in the world. Today, there are more than 400 - 232 of which fly free in California, Arizona and Baja California, Mexico. Many of the now wild condors were hatched in breeding facilities and then reintroduced into their native range habitats, but some have actually been hatched to those reintroduced condors and have lived their entire lives in the wild, which is good news for their ecosystem.
"The California condor is a flagship species for an entire ecosystem," said Dr. Michael Mace, curator of birds at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. "Their key role as a scavenger is to clean up carcasses, which prevents the spread of diseases such as botulism and anthrax - from which the condor is immune."
Not only does the California condor help clean its environment, but preserving the habitat that California condors live in also protects many other endangered species as well, making it vital to bring the California condor back from extinction.
[Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.]