January 29, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Oregon Zoo has been awarded $2 million from the federal government to even more support the conservation of the California condor — a critically endangered species.

Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden aided protected the cash for the zoo’s Condor Restoration Resiliency Job, and other statewide community applications, via the $1.7 trillion bipartisan yr-conclude investing package handed by the U.S. Senate in December.

“The funding, involved in the year-conclude omnibus monthly bill signed into regulation by President Biden, will make certain the zoo’s condor recovery attempts can continue on uninterrupted,” the Oregon Zoo stated.

Component of the funding will reportedly be put towards modernizing the zoo’s offsite Jonsson Centre for Wildlife Conservation in rural Clackamas County. Oregon Zoo director Heidi Rahn reported that the center, which is the next-greatest condor breeding facility in the U.S., has been forced to evacuate its workforce quite a few instances in new many years due to wildfires and electricity outages triggered by winter storms.

“Thanks to Senator Merkley and Wyden’s support for this task, our centre will be improved geared up to stand up to climate-related events, safeguarding condors and workers so that recovery initiatives can keep on,” Rahn stated. “Each chick hatched at the centre is a lifeline for the species.” 

The California condor was integrated in the original Endangered Species Act in 1973. By 1982, it was approximated that 22 of these birds nonetheless existed in the wild. In 1987, the final-remaining condors ended up captured and cared for by scientists in order to protect the species. 

In 2003, the Oregon Zoo partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s condor restoration energy with the aim of “hatching and releasing as quite a few condors as possible,” the zoo stated. Given that that time, the species’ populace has rebounded to 500, with additional than 300 condors existing in the wild.

In 2022, the zoo hatched a history 12 condor chicks. The zoo also launched 8 condors into the wild, together with the three birds made use of for the Yurok Tribe’s historic reintroduction in Humboldt County, Calif.

The Oregon Zoo’s direct condor keeper Kelli Walker explained in August of 2022, that the hatchlings spend at least eight months with their mothers and fathers and an additional year in out of doors “pre-release pens” ahead of they are released into the wilds of California and Arizona.

“Some of the chicks are continue to huge fluffy balls of fury,” Walker said. “But they’ll be whole-fledged condors in advance of long. The moment they’re traveling on their very own, they’ll observe in bigger enclosures until they’re lastly all set to soar into the wild.”