The California Condor is the largest bird naturally found in North America and by the mid 1980's its population had plummeted to a few dozen individuals. Society had a choice: let the species pass into oblivion or develop a bold and untested plan to collect, preserve, and eventually, repopulate the desert southwest with wild animals and their descendants that could fend for themselves.
Animal expert Michael Mace from San Diego Zoo Global describes some of the early obstacles to success and the pressure professionals from the San Diego and Los Angeles zoos felt working with the world's only remaining California Condors. While some of the the factors (e.g., use of pesticide DDT) that led to the condor's near extinction over thirty years ago may have faded, new and persisting risks remain. Not only has the Condor conservation program continued to evolve and incorporate new technologies to meet these challenges, it continues to serve as a model and inspiration to preserve other critically endangered species.
This week's That Sounds Wild comes from www.conservationambassadors.org