California Condor Restoration Project Wins National Award
31 August 2004The Peregrine Fund was specially recognized earlier this month for efforts in restoring California Condors to the Grand Canyon area and received the 4 C's Award from the Department of Interior through the Bureau of Land Management. The award acknowledges performance that epitomizes the philosophy of consultation, cooperation, and communication, all in the service of conservation.
Kathleen Clarke, Director of the Bureau of Land Management came from Washington, D.C. to personally present the award and recognize the tremendous collaborative efforts involved in this project. The award was presented during a planning meeting of the Southwest Condor Working Group. Director Clark commented, "Rules and regulations will never recover a species. You need passion and conviction." Those are exactly the traits exhibited from this group that exemplifies the benefits and potential that can be achieved when agencies cooperate toward a common goal. Additional Working Group members, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Arizona Ecological Service Office, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Arizona Game and Fish Department, the Kaibab National Forest, and Grand Canyon National Park, were also recognized for their efforts in the program.
Bill Heinrich, Species Restoration Manager for The Peregrine Fund, was in Flagstaff to accept the award. "It is an honor to receive this award, especially in a program where patience and persistence are the keys to success," states Heinrich. The program has had its share of struggles; however the successes have far outweighed any failures. This past spring, two wild-hatched chicks were produced, marking the second year in a row for wild propagation. The wild-hatched chick from 2003, Condor #305, fledged last fall and is now free-flying and doing well integrating into the population. The restoration goal is 150 free-flying condors with at least 15 nesting pairs.
Regular updates from the field on all of the California Condor activities in the Southwest are provided in the Notes from the Field section of The Peregrine Fund's website. New Notes have recently been posted and outline more details on the two newest wild-hatched chicks mentioned in the previous e-newsletter, along with an update on the antics and progress of Condor #305, the 2003 wild-hatched condor.
The California Condors are being released as a "non-essential/experimental population" under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act. Section 10(j) provides that the species can be released in an area without impacting current or future land use planning. This authority has been spelled out further in an innovative agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local governments. This "Implementation Agreement" spells out a positive working relationship between the federal government and the various local governments.
The California Condor was included on the first Federal Endangered Species List in 1967 and is currently one of the most endangered birds in North America. On 1 August, the entire wild and captive California Condor population reached a total of 248 birds from a low of 22 in 1982. There are currently 102 condors flying free in California, Arizona, and in Baja Mexico.
Funding for the project in 2004 provided by The Peregrine Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Peter Pfendler, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Chichester du Pont Foundation, Steve Martin and the Toledo Zoo, Kearny Alliance, Patagonia, Conni Pfendler, Philadelphia Foundation, S. Byers Trust, Globe Foundation, Earth Friends, Philanthropic Collaborative, Arizona Fish and Game, Steve Hoddy, Grand Canyon Conservation Fund, Arizona Bureau of Land Management, and others.
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