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Conservation Issues

California condors

CondorsCalifornia condors are a unique, wondrous bird species that went missing from the Grand Canyon region for years. The condor reintroduction program is a great success story for the Endangered Species Act. Since initiation of the Arizona project in December 1996, 90 condors have been released into the wild in northern Arizona.  The reintroduction program has also produced five young hatched in the wild.  Currently, 56 free-flying condors are in the northern Arizona/southern Utah population, including four young that have hatched in the wild.  However, reintroduction efforts have been complicated by lead poisonings, bird-human interactions, and shootings.  Thirty-three released birds have died and three have been returned to indefinite captivity.

The condors have been observed to fly long distances, but they generally have remained within the greater Grand Canyon ecosystem.  Recently, some members of the population have been making regular flights to the vicinity of Zion National Park and spending a portion of their year there.

May 18, 2012, Lawsuit Launched to Protect Endangered California Condors in Arizona From Lead Bullets TUCSON, Ariz.— Conservation groups officially notified the U.S. Forest Service of their intent to file a lawsuit against the agency for its failure to protect endangered California condors in Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest from toxic lead ammunition left behind from hunting activities. Lead ammunition is the leading cause of death for Arizona’s California condors — which are among the world’s most endangered species — and is completely preventable since nonlead alternatives are now readily available. More...

The goal of the California Condor Recovery Plan is to establish two geographically separate, self-sustaining populations — a primary population in California and the other outside of California, each with 150 birds and at least 15 breeding pairs.  The Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter recently submitted comments on the Five-Year Review of the reintroduction effort (244 KB pdf).

For more information about the California condor program in Arizona, go to: www.peregrinefund.org  or www.fws.gov/arizonaes or www.azgfd.gov/w_c/california_condor.shtml.

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