California Condor Bi-national Recovery and Reintroduction Program Wins Prestigious Award

A California Condor soars. Credit: USFWS

Credit: USFWS

October 16, 2017

When you are seeking inspiration and hope, this wildlife conservation success story is one to remember. The California Condor once had its population down to 22 individuals. There are now more than 450 condors on the planet, with 275 flying free in the wild in California, Arizona, Utah, and Baja California, Mexico.

Last month, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums announced that six zoos received “Top Honors” for the 2017 North American Conservation Award for their California Condor Bi-national Recovery and Reintroduction Program. The annual award recognizes exceptional efforts toward regional habitat preservation, species restoration, and support of biodiversity in the wild.

While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has supported the California Condor Recovery and Reintroduction Program domestically, we have also supported the work through our Mexico Program.

Today, there are 39 free-flying condor in Northeastern Mexico resulting from the bi-national effort. Working with the San Diego Zoo, Chapultepec Zoo, CONANP (the Mexican Commission of Natural Protected Areas), and other partners, grants from the Mexico Program have supported efforts to continue reintroducing condors in Mexico to bring the numbers up to a population size that is sustainable genetically and demographically. The projects have also aimed to strengthen the capacity of the Chapultepec Zoo and partners to establish a captive breeding program. Finally, the projects have increased local and national awareness about the threats affecting the survival of the California condor, while aiming to change behaviors in way that has helped mitigate human factors limiting condor recovery.

We congratulate our colleagues and partners in the U.S. and Mexico for receiving this prestigious award recognition. Keep up the great work everyone! Thanks to San Diego Zoo for submitting the award nomination on behalf of all of the partners.