September 28 th, 2019 marked the spoils of a twenty-three-year-long rescue mission.
This was the day when more than six-hundred people met in a remote portion of
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument to witness the release of four captive-bred California
In the year 1982, the California condors were dwindling dangerously close to extinction.
At that time, there were only twenty-two of these majestic birds left in the world.
Thankfully, with the help of captive-breeding, this species is slowly growing back to
numbers that will ensure their prolonged survival.
Currently, the population of California condors exceeds 500 worldwide, with 96 flying
free throughout the Arizona sky.
Among the four California condors that were released late last month, there was a
female and a male that hatched in the spring of 2018. Alongside those babies were two
more males that hatched in the summer of 2018. Their home, until last month, was the
Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho. However, now, these
beautiful birds can go wherever they want and add to the free-roaming population of
The extensive crowd that gathered to wish the four birds well in their journey was
breathtaking. Of course, the field crews from the Peregrine Fund were excited to see
the culmination of all their hard work. They were proud of the birds, that they raised from
hatchlings and were ecstatic to see them take their first flight in freedom. Yet, seeing the
enthusiasm in those that gathered to watch the event was what made the biggest
impact on them.
Chris Parish, Director of Global Conservation, explained that the most exciting part of
the event for him was meeting people who traveled from across the country to support
the recovery effort.
“For the crew who are on the ground working with the condors every day to be able to
see at this event that their work does resonate for people,” Parish said, “It makes it all
worthwhile, to know that people care and are listening.”
Ultimately, the California condors still have a while to go before they are officially off the
endangered species list. Although, they have come such a long way and continue to
strengthen in number every day. Thanks to people who devote their time to protecting
these and other endangered species, the ecosystem will hopefully flourish as a result of
being saved from the loss. After all, every species is connected. Therefore, when we
save one species, we are also ensuring the preservation of our current ecosystem.