Caring for Zion’s Centennial Condor Chick
Hatched in early May in the cliffs below Angels Landing, Zion’s “Centennial” California condor chick represents hope for a species that neared extinction in the 1980s. Spotting a California condor soaring past Zion’s sandstone cliffs is a once-in-a lifetime experience made possible due to successful captive-breeding programs which have released California condors back into the wild. With approximately 50% of the California condor population (around 500 birds) flying free, species recovery is far from complete. Year-round intensive management is required in order to assure continued survival.
The condors who call Zion home are among the 90 birds inhabiting the canyon country of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Monitoring and tracking condors’ daily activity is provided by the nonprofit organization, The Peregrine Fund. For more than 20 years, The Peregrine Fund has prepared captive-bred condors for release in the wild and keeps active condors healthy by providing routine check-ups and needed health care.
Zion National Park’s Resource Team hopes to leverage resources for watchcare over the California condors in the Southwest region, including support for Zion’s Centennial chick. If the Centennial chick flies this November, it will be the first California condor to fledge within the park boundaries.
In partnership with the Zion Forever Project and The Peregrine Fund, this gift rebuilds condor flight and trap pens, tools needed to facilitate health checkups. It also purchases additional GPS transmitters that will track individual birds and allows Zion biologists to monitor breeding behavior, locate undiscovered nest sites, and observe bird movement and health over the long-term.