SEVERE WX : Air Stagnation Advisory View Alerts

California condor eggs laid at Oregon Zoo boost recovery for the endangered species

First, California condors nearly went extinct from poaching, lead poisoning and habitat destruction.Then the California wildfires last summer threaten...

Posted: Feb 17, 2021 12:20 AM

First, California condors nearly went extinct from poaching, lead poisoning and habitat destruction.

Then the California wildfires last summer threatened to devastate their recovering wild population.

Now, hope is on the horizon as the critically endangered species has added nine eggs to their numbers since January 15. The most recent egg came on February 7.

Laid at the Oregon Zoo's Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation, the eggs are a much-needed boost for the species' survival. Nine eggs over the span of a month are the largest amount the condor breeding season has seen in the center's 18-year history.

Dr. Kelly Flaminio, who oversees the Oregon Zoo condor recovery efforts, told CNN these eggs are a promising first step in rebuilding condor populations on the West coast.

"I can't stress enough how important each individual is in this program," Flaminio said.

"It's not only about increasing the number of birds we have total, it's about increasing the number of birds we can get into the wild that reach breeding age so we can have more breeding happening in the wild. That's the key to gaining a sustainable population."'

Condors generally lay eggs during January and February and produce one egg per year, Flaminio said, adding that the eggs came earlier than usual this year.

The zoo often uses a process called "double-clutching" to produce two eggs. Double clutching occurs when an egg is transferred from one parent to a surrogate parent so the first mother is stimulated to lay a second egg.

Though the eggs are a good first step, it's not guaranteed that all nine are fertile, meaning they might not all hatch. The first chick would come sometime in March following a 54 to 58 day incubation period, Flaminio said.

Recovery efforts were slowed by California fires

The Oregon Zoo is one of several institutions working with US Fish and Wildlife to increase wild condor populations in California, Utah and Arizona.

Breeding in captivity has steadily increased condor numbers over the past several decades. The 1000th California condor hatched in 2019, CNN has reported. At the time, there were more condors in the wild than in captivity.

By comparison, only 22 total birds remained in 1982 when the species was nearly extinct.

The California condor remains critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. One large source of danger that remains is lead poisoning, which occurs when a condor eats the carcass of a shot animal that contains fragments of lead bullets.

Last year, wildfires in California threatened wild populations in the area. California fires destroyed the Ventana Wildlife Society's Big Sur Sanctuary for condor research in August, CNN has reported.

About 500 condors were in the wild during the last count prior to the fires. Because of the damaged surveillance equipment, Flaminio said they don't know exactly how many wild condors were lost last year.

"Our goal is to produce as many chicks as we can every year to just get that wild population higher and higher," she said.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
Marion39592504
Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
Deschutes23182185
Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5061240

Reported Deaths: 74159
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152548627128
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581504
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus912991413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058629
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
Nevada9914103
Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
San Benito775977
Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
Sierra2170
Alpine1060
Out of CA00
Medford
Mostly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 47°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 57°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 47°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 47°
Klamath Falls
Mostly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 39°
Fog and stagnant air in the valleys, dry and mild weather continues into Monday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events