June 20, 2009

California Condor Chick Hatched

A rare California condor chick has hatched in Baja California on a cliff side, according to the San Diego Zoo.

The zoo announced the hatching on Thursday. This is only the second time a condor chick has hatched since 2002 in Mexico, when the zoo reintroduced the endangered species to the area.

In 2007 another chick hatched, but it disappeared a month later.

The newest chick was immunized against West Nile virus when biologists rappelled down a 330 foot cliff to the nest to administer the vaccine, zoo officials said.  The condor was found in Baja's Sierra San Pedro de Martir National Park and is estimated to be about 45 days old, according to officials.

The birds are being reintroduced in the area by the California Condor Recovery Program, which is an organization that includes zoos and government agencies from the U.S. and Mexico.

The California condor is in the Vulture family, Cathartidae, and is the largest North American land bird. The condor population started to decline in the 19th century due to poaching, lead poisoning and habitat destruction.


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