May 26, 2023
Partners and stakeholders have initiated vaccine trials and are working to improve the ability of flock managers in swiftly responding to potential future HPAI outbreaks through management of the flocks, and facility and infrastructure improvements. On May 16, HPAI vaccination trials began with 20 vultures and eight controls as surrogates for the condor to determine safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.To read the full update, visit: https://www.fws.gov/story/2023-05/california-condor-hpai-response-updat…
May 19, 2023
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Incident Command Team, in collaboration with partner agencies, continues to respond to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as bird flu, in the Southwest flock of California condors. Partners and stakeholders have initiated vaccine trials, are working to improve the ability of flock managers in swiftly responding to potential future HPAI outbreaks, determine appropriate timing for the release of birds in care, and support field monitoring. The Incident Command will provide updates on the incident and field operations in this format on a routine basis until further notice. To read the full update, visit: https://www.fws.gov/story/2023-05/california-condor-hpai-response-updat…
May 16, 2023
Today, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is taking emergency action to help protect the critically endangered California condors after several have died from highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). APHIS has approved the emergency use of HPAI vaccine in an attempt to prevent additional deaths of these birds. Read the full announcement here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/stakeholder-info/sa_by_date/s…
May 12, 2023
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Incident Command Team, in collaboration with partner agencies, continues to respond to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as bird flu, in the Southwest flock of California condors. Partners and stakeholders are working to enhance supportive care facilities for recovering birds and a newborn chick, maintain support for field operations and monitoring, coordinate with USDA regarding potential vaccination of condors and develop long-term strategies for potential future HPAI outbreaks. On March 28, The Peregrine Fund captured a distressed female with an active nest for treatment; she was later confirmed HPAI positive and died. The male diligently continued to incubate the egg; however, there was concern for his health if he continued to stay in the nest cave, which was suspected to be contaminated with HPAI from the female. To read the full update, visit: https://www.fws.gov/story/2023-05/may-12-2023-incident-command-californ…
May 5, 2023
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Incident Command Team, in collaboration with partner agencies, continues to monitor and respond to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as bird flu, in the Southwest flock of California condors. As of May 5, all confirmed HPAI positive condors have been found in northern Arizona. Bird flu has not yet been confirmed in the condor populations in Utah (the Southwest flock spans the Arizona-Utah border), California or Baja California, Mexico. The Incident Command will provide updates in this format on a routine basis until further notice. To read the full update, visit: https://www.fws.gov/story/2023-05/california-condor-hpai-response-updat…
April 28, 2023
On April 15, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established an Incident Command Team to respond to the outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as bird flu, in the Southwest (Arizona-Utah) flock of California condors. To read the full update, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/story/2023-04/california-condor-hpai-response-updat…
April 20, 2023
The number of deceased condors and samples tested for HPAI in northern Arizona remain unchanged. Please refer to the update from April 17 below for additional information.
April 17, 2023
Free-flying California condors in Arizona continue to be confirmed with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). To be as transparent as possible to the public and stakeholders about the potential extent of this outbreak, until further notice, the Service will disclose and report all deceased condors in the Southwest Flock found on or after March 30, 2023, prior to necropsy and preliminary testing. As results are confirmed at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Service Laboratory, we will report them as "confirmed HPAI."
As of April 17, 2023, 20 condors have died in the Arizona-Utah flock; HPAI has been confirmed for 10 of those condors. Eight birds were captured and brought in for supportive care. Four of those condors died shortly thereafter and are included in the total of 20 deceased birds. Four condors are still receiving supportive care and have shown improvement. Learn more about HPAI.
On April 7, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) was publicly confirmed as the cause of mortality for three California condors found in northern Arizona, according to wildlife officials. The Arizona-Utah population moves throughout northern Arizona and southern Utah, using the landscape within Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, the Kaibab Plateau, and surrounding areas. To date, the virus has not been detected in the other condor populations in California or Baja California, Mexico.
On March 9, The Peregrine Fund, which manages the Arizona-Utah condor flock, first observed a bird in the wild exhibiting signs of illness, initially suspected to be lead poisoning. Crews continued to monitor this bird and others showing similar behavior. On March 20, they collected a deceased female below her nest, which was the first bird confirmed positive with HPAI.
Upon collection, the bird was went to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Clark R. Bavin National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory for necropsy to determine the cause of death. Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Lab analyzed samples, and preliminary results indicated the bird tested positive for HPAI subtype H5N1. The positive result was confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Service Laboratory on March 30.
When initially reported by partners on April 4, a total of three deceased birds were confirmed as HPAI positive.
California condor populations face multiple stressors, such as exposure to lead shot and habitat degradation, that have reduced the resiliency of the population. To address the unfolding threat of HPAI, coordination is ongoing with avian influenza experts, veterinarians, and Tribal, state and federal partners across the condor’s range. California condor recovery partners are mobilizing resources and taking preemptive steps to protect wild birds from HPAI. Across the condor’s range, daily activities continue, such as captive breeding and the monitoring of breeding and nesting sites.
Potential exposure of HPAI is expected to rise during the spring migration of birds north to their breeding grounds. HPAI has been detected in all U.S. states, except Hawaii, in wild and domestic animals.
HPAI is considered low risk as a human health concern, according to the Centers for Disease Control; however, infections in humans have been reported. HPAI is highly contagious in wildlife and can spread quickly by several routes, including bird-to-bird contact, environmental contamination with fecal material, and via exposed clothing, shoes and vehicles. To protect people and birds, it is important to take precautions to prevent spread of the virus.
The Southwest Condor Working Group is supporting The Peregrine Fund and collaborating on monitoring condor health and behavior, identifying symptomatic birds, and transporting distressed birds to Liberty Wildlife, where they are receiving supportive care.
Ways to help
For the Media
Condor imagery is available via the Service's Flickr account.
For questions about the incident, or to be directed to the appropriate condor recovery partner, please contact email@example.com.