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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
HOPPER MOUNTAIN NWRC:  California Condor Recovery Program Advances Binational Efforts in Mexico
Region 8, February 25, 2009
Marc Weitzel is greated by Martin Vargas, Director General of SEMARNAT's wildlife agency, and other government officials at the Mexico City Airport, birds in tow. (photo: Lopez, 2009)
Marc Weitzel is greated by Martin Vargas, Director General of SEMARNAT's wildlife agency, and other government officials at the Mexico City Airport, birds in tow. (photo: Lopez, 2009) - Photo Credit: n/a

by Michael Woodbridge, Hopper Mountain NWRC
On February 25, Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex (NWRC) Project Leader Marc Weitzel flew to Mexico to add a fourth major Mexican partner to the binational California Condor Recovery Program.  With him, he carried the frozen carcasses of an endangered California condor and whooping crane.

After navigating the customs process, Weitzel was greeted at the Mexico City airport by officials from SEMARNAT, Mexico’s version of the Department of the Interior, and a representative from the Museo de las Aves de Mexico (Museum of Birds of Mexico).  The next day, the birds were transported to the Museum of Birds of Mexico in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico.  Along with the two birds, Weitzel also provided the Museum with a replica of a condor egg and skull, as well as a CD with various images of condors.  The materials will be used in a final exhibit.

The Museum plans to hold a major ceremony marking the opening of an exhibit in the future that incorporates the condor and crane carcasses.  With the arrival of these birds, the Museum of Birds of Mexico joins the Mexican federal government, Chapultepec National Zoo (in Mexico City) and airline Aeromexico as another major partner in the California Condor Recovery Program in Mexico.  The Museum will provide environmental education and outreach for the California Condor Recovery Program.

“With the delivery of these two birds to the Museum of Birds of Mexico, the Condor Program continues to grow.  This new program partner will provide valuable outreach and education to millions of people in Mexico,” said Weitzel.  The delivery of the California condor and whooping crane was a government-to-government gift, requested by the Director of Mexico’s wildlife agency to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Contact Info: Michael Woodbridge, 916-978-4445, michael_woodbridge@fws.gov