Seven wild California condor chicks left their nests in California in 2008 – marking a successful breeding season for the California condor recovery program at Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
With the seven chicks and others in Arizona and Baja, the wild population of California condors now outnumbers those in captivity for the first time since the birds started being reintroduced in 1992.
The total number of California condors in the world is more than 320, a remarkable turnaround from a low of 22 birds in 1982. The recovery plan calls for three distinct populations with at least 150 birds and 15 breeding pairs in each group.
Hopper Mountain and Bitter Creek Refuges were established to protect roosting and foraging habitat for the California condor. The Hopper Mountain Refuge Complex serves as a base of operations. The captive breeding program also includes such partners as the Los Angeles Zoo, Peregrine Fund, Ventana Wildlife Society, Portland Zoo and San Diego Wildlife Park.
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