Endangered California Condor Seen in Sequoia National Park for the First Time in 50 Years
One of the most endangered animals in the United States has been observed in a national park that is part of its historical range. The National Park and U.S. Fish and Wildlife services confirmed in a joint statement that six California Condors have been seeing flying above the Sequoia National Park in Eastern California.
The birds were also photographed by park personnel.
A biologist of the Santa Barbara Zoo confirmed that specimens being GPS-tracked by the zoo had been geolocated in the national park.
“We use GPS transmitters to track the birds’ movement, which can be over hundreds of miles on a single day,” said Dave Meyer. “On this particular day we documented the birds’ signals around Giant Forest, and we are excited that park employees observed the birds and confirmed their use of this important historic habitat.”
The Sequoia National Park consists of more then 400,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The rare vultures, which feed upon carrion, had once been known to nest in the great Sequoia trees of the park, before disappearing from the habitat around the 1970’s.
The California Condor is a New World vulture, and an exceptionally large bird, the largest native to North America. It range once broadly consisted of the entire western United States, spanning from Canada to Baja California in Mexico.
It had been declared to be extinct in the wild in 1987, but a preservation program to save the species has proved successful in reintroducing captive individuals to the wild in northern Arizona and Utah. Poaching, habitat destruction, and poisoning from manmade chemicals have severely eroded the population of the birds in the wild, and it’s currently listed as critically endangered. Preservation efforts have increased the wild population of the California Condor from merely 22 animals to more than 400 today.