September 24, 2021
The California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is an enormous bird that used to soar majestically over the Pacific Northwest. Using their three-meter (9.5 foot) wingspan, they could glide across their vast range which historically extended from Baja California all the way north to British Columbia. Tragically, these incredible birds were almost wiped out in the 1980s when their wild population numbers dipped to just 23 individuals.
Slowly but surely, captive breeding programs were able to grow the number of California condors over the decades to more than 300 wild birds living in central southern California deserts. Then, in 2003, tribal elders of the Yurok Tribe decided to focus on bringing this species that holds both cultural and ecological importance back to the Pacific Northwest. For 13 years they worked relentlessly to make this a reality, garnering buy-in from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to help with this important conservation project.
The historic information the Yurok people contributed about where the condors used to fly, and what carcasses these birds would feed on has been invaluable to this project. Now, after years of hard work, it has been decided that the California condor will be re-released back into the center of their historic range, in suitable habitat in Northern California. The pandemic has slowed the initial release of condors, but it won’t be long before these giant birds are once again flying where they belong. In time, it is hoped that they will thrive, and perhaps spread out further in their original range, adding to the biodiversity of the Pacific Northwest.
Read more: https://news.mongabay.com/2021/09/thanks-to-the-yurok-tribe-condors-will-return-to-the-pacific-northwest/