California condor that helped save species returns to wild

SAN FRANCISCO -- Banking into the wind and then gliding out of sight, a male California condor flew back into the wild after a captive breeding program that helped save North America's largest species of land bird.

See Full Article

The 35-year-old bird named AC-4 soared out of his open pen earlier this week at a canyon rim inside the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge, in central California's Kern County. He had been one of just 23 condors left in the world in the 1980s.

It was the bird's first free flight since 1985, when a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service team captured him near the same spot. It was part of a last-ditch attempt to stop the extinction of the California condor, which has a wing span of more than 9 feet.

AC-4 needed only a few minutes to get his bearings before flying out of the pen and over the canyon, said Joseph Brandt, a lead condor biologist with the wildlife service. Brandt was sitting on a hilltop nearby to watch the release.

"He kind of flew right past us. It was really incredible," Brandt said by telephone Thursday.

Lead poisoning is believed one of the main factors that drove California condors toward extinction. The birds ingest fragments of lead bullets when they feed on carcasses of animals shot by hunters.

California lawmakers voted in 2013 to phase out lead bullets for hunting by 2019.

Biologists believe AC-4 was 5 to 7 years old when they captured him for the captive breeding program. He fathered the first chick born in the program, giving the program's founders greater hope they could save the species.

In all, AC-4 sired 30 condor chicks that have been successfully released into the wild.

"Many people have poured their heart and soul" into saving the condors, Jesse Grantham, a former condor program coordinator and part of the original team that captured AC-4, said in a statement from the wildlife service.

This year, biologists recorded 19 wild condor nests in central and Southern California, more nests than at any point this century, Brandt said.

Condors can live up to 60 years in the wild and mate for life, Brandt said. Biologists hope AC-4, which they have tagged for tracking, will pick a mate before the courting season ends this winter, he said.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Maple syrup producers blame climate change for production drop

    Tech & Science CTV News
    DURHAM, N.H. -- New Hampshire's maple syrup producers say they are feeling the impact of climate change, as winters become warmer and frigid nights so critical to their business become fewer. Producers joined climate experts and Democratic U.S. Source
  • Roblox: Child protection agency warns parents after reports of lewd chats on game

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is warning parents following reports of sexually suggestive messages being sent through the popular Roblox children's gaming environment. Roblox is a user-generated gaming environment where children are encouraged to create adventures using their avatar, play games and connect with friends in a multiplayer environment that claims to more than 44 million active users. Source
  • Selfie paradox: People want fewer selfies on social media but keep posting selfies themselves

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Approximately one in every three photos taken these days is a selfie. Google estimates Android users take 93 million selfies a day. But despite their popularity, new research suggests most people wish there were fewer selfies online. Source
  • Canada's grasslands: 'most endangered, least protected ecosystems'

    Tech & Science CBC News
    more stories from this episodeHow two friends fought to be legal 'co-mommas' to a 7-year-old boy — and wonCanada's grasslands: 'most endangered, least protected ecosystems'Anti-Islamophobia motion could stifle free speech, say criticsFull Episode Source
  • New-gen HoloLens virtual reality headset could be coming in 2019

    Tech & Science CTV News
    While Microsoft's first HoloLens virtual reality headset has been available to buy since last year the U.S. tech giant could now be working on a more advanced second-generation version that's more geared up for the consumer market, according to specialist website Thurrott. Source
  • 'Just delete it': Mother's app warning after witnessing lewd act on son's phone

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A Quebec mother is warning other parents about the potential dangers of a popular video chat app called live.ly. Samantha Theoret told CTV Montreal that she witnessed an adult male performing a sexual act in a chat room on the app on her 10-year-old son’s phone on Friday night. Source
  • D.C. panda fans bam-boo-hoo as U.S.-born cub leaves for China

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The National Zoo in Washington is saying a final goodbye to its panda cub Bao Bao. The zoo is packing up the American-born panda for a one-way flight Tuesday to China, where the 3-year-old will eventually join a panda breeding program. Source
  • Panda express: Bao Bao on nonstop flight to China

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The National Zoo in Washington has said its final goodbye to its panda cub Bao Bao. The zoo packed up the American-born panda Tuesday for a one-way flight to Chengdu, China, where the 3-year-old will eventually join a panda breeding program. Source
  • 'Cosmic shoutout' for Thunder Bay; asteroid now bears name of Ontario city

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The city of Thunder Bay, Ont., is getting a "cosmic shoutout" from the International Astronomical Union, which has accepted a proposal to name an asteroid after the city. "It's tremendously exciting", said Maureen Nadin, the chair of the exoplanet naming committee for the Thunder Bay Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Source
  • NASA aims to measure vital snow data from satellites

    Tech & Science CTV News
    DENVER -- Instrument-laden aircraft are surveying the Colorado high country this month as scientists search for better ways to measure how much water is locked up in the world's mountain snows -- water that sustains a substantial share of the global population. Source