Our Organization


The Recovery Program for the California condor is an international multi-entity effort, led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Partners in condor recovery include numerous stretching across state, federal, non-governmental and tribal partners.

The Recovery Program is working to establish robust self-sustaining populations of condors within the historical distribution. The program includes several key components including addressing threats to the species in the wild; captive breeding; and release and monitoring at our field sites. In addition, we are working to increase the public's knowledge about the species and how you can support recovery of the condor.

In 1967 the California condor was listed as endangered by the federal government under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, the predecessor to the Endangered Species Act, and in 1979 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the California Condor Recovery Program. The 1996 Recovery plan established goals (criteria) for down listing the species from Endangered to Threatened. These include establishing two wild, geographically distinct self-sustaining populations, each with 150 birds and at least 15 breeding pairs. In addition, the plan includes maintaining a third population of condors in captivity.

The species historically ranged from California to Florida and western Canada to northern Mexico but by the mid-20th century, condor populations had dropped dramatically.

By 1982, only 22 condors survived in the wild, in an effort, to avoid extinction of the species, the Service and partners began to capture the remaining wild condors. Five years later, all remaining wild condors were in captivity and a captive breeding program to save the species was underway.

Today, the Service, and its public and private partners, have grown the total wild free-flying condor population to more than 300 condors. In 2004, the Recovery Program reached an important milestone with the first successful chick hatched in the wild. In 2008, another major milestone was reach when more condors were flying free in the wild than in captivity for the first time since the program began.
The Highlands region spans 3.4 million acres across Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In an effort to conserve natural resources in this region, the Highlands Conservation Act was passed in 2004, founding the Highlands Conservation Act grant program. This grant program is among the many that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers to help partners conserve an array of plants, fish, wildlife, and their habitats. Grant funding also supports states, non-governmental organizations and other conservation partners working to sustain key landscapes in the Highlands region for the benefit of both people and wildlife.

This iconic landscape is distinguished by Appalachian ridges, hills, and plateaus. It is marked by deciduous and coniferous forests, streams and lakes, and thousands of plant and animal species. It is not only ecologically diverse, but sustains forest management, working farms, nature-oriented recreational opportunities, and clean water for the many people who live in the region.

Since the passage of the Highlands Conservation Act in 2004, $48 million in federal funds, matched by $74 million in non-federal funds, have been awarded to permanently protect 16,226 acres of land. Projects supported by the Highlands Conservation Act grant program are led by state agencies and address lands that support key conservation objectives outlined in the Highlands Conservation Act such as clean drinking water, healthy forests, thriving wildlife populations, productive agriculture, and abundant recreational opportunities.