BOISE, Idaho – Four California Condors will be released to the wild in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona at 11 a.m., Saturday, September 25. The public is welcome to observe the release from a viewing area where spotting scopes will be set up and experts will be available to answer questions.
This will be the 16th public release of condors in Arizona since the recovery program began in 1996. Condors are hatched and reared in captivity at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Idaho, Oregon Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park and transported to Arizona for release to the wild.
Previously, public releases were held in March, but weather conditions and condor behavior make the fall a better time to celebrate the annual event, said Chris Parish, head of The Peregrine Fund’s condor program in Arizona.
Currently, 73 condors are flying free in the Grand Canyon region. The world’s total population of endangered California Condors is 384, with 186 of them in the wild in Arizona, Utah, California and Mexico. Condors were reduced to just 22 individuals in the 1980s when a program was begun to save the species from extinction.
Recovery and reintroduction cooperators include The Peregrine Fund, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Driving directions: Take Highway 89A from Kanab or Page to the Vermilion Cliffs (from Flagstaff take Highway 89 to Highway 89A). Turn north onto BLM Road 1065 (a dirt road next to the small house just east of the Kaibab Plateau) and continue about 2 miles.
Driving times: From Flagstaff, 2.75 hours; Fredonia, 1 hour; Page, 1.75 hours; Phoenix, 5 hours.
Bring: binoculars, sunscreen, water, snack
Details: Informational kiosk, shade structure and restroom at the site
|Director of Community Engagement|