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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
HOPPER MOUNTAIN NWRC: Service Helps Kickoff California Condor Exhibit at Santa Barbara Zoo
Region 8, April 22, 2009
Rich Block, Zoo CEO, Jesse Grantham, California Condor Coordinator, and Alan Varsik, Zoo Assistant Director, pose for a photo during the dedication of the new California condor exhibit at the Santa Barbara Zoo.  The four new California condors can be seen in the background (Santa Barbara Zoo, 2009).
Rich Block, Zoo CEO, Jesse Grantham, California Condor Coordinator, and Alan Varsik, Zoo Assistant Director, pose for a photo during the dedication of the new California condor exhibit at the Santa Barbara Zoo. The four new California condors can be seen in the background (Santa Barbara Zoo, 2009). - Photo Credit: n/a
Dignitaries and community members gather around the newly-completed
Dignitaries and community members gather around the newly-completed "Condor Country" exhibit during the opening dedication ceremony at the Santa Barbara Zoo (FWS, 2009). - Photo Credit: n/a

by Michael Woodbridge, Hopper Mountain NWRC
On April 22 (Earth Day), staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex (NWRC) and California Condor Recovery Program  attended the grand opening of the new “Condor Country” exhibit at the Santa Barbara Zoo.  The condor exhibit is the centerpiece of a new $7.5 million addition at the zoo, which features animals in danger of disappearing from the wild in California.

Four juvenile condors are on display in the new hilltop aviary overlooking their historic range, the Santa Ynez Mountains.  All four birds were hatched in Boise, Idaho, at the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey.  The condors are unlikely to ever be released into the wild and will most likely be moved to one of the breeding facilities before they mature around six to eight years of age.  The Santa Barbara Zoo condor exhibit is one of only three zoos in the world to display condors, joining the San Diego Wild Animal Park and Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City.

The zoo collaborated with the Recovery Program in the design and development of the condor exhibit.  During the grand opening on Earth Day, Jesse Grantham, the Service's California Condor Coordinator,  delivered a stirring speech about the charismatic nature of California condors.

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