Soar in Peace, AC2

Posted by ardeidae on September 28, 2005

This morning, I received some sad news.

AC2, the male Adult Condor 2, was found dead yesterday at Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Cuyama Valley in Kern County, California. Cause of death is unknown. A necropsy is being performed today at the San Diego Zoo. The results of the necropsy will be announced in a press release from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

AC2 was taken from the wild on December 13, 1986 and was released in June, 2005. After being released, AC2 flew to his traditional perch where he had been captured almost twenty years earlier.

AC2’s mate, AC3, died January 18, 1986 of lead poisoning.

In June, I had the opportunity to see the magnificent California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) firsthand.  (Read the post “Flight of the Condor”.) Jesse Grantham of the US Fish & Wildlife Service took a group of us to a feeding station at Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, where we saw some of the birds feeding and finally taking to the air. It’s a spectacular sight. Though the USFWS has done an amazing job bringing these birds back from the brink of extinction, they still have a long way to go. Since most California Condors in the wild today weren’t born there, they face the difficult challenge of learning to survive on their own. AC2 was born in the wild before the recovery program even began, so his death is a significant loss to the program since he served as a mentor to the younger birds.

AC2, you will be sorely missed.

This news was quite sad to hear.  Especially since he had been released back into the wild such a short time ago.

I’ve been doing some searching on the FWS website and can’t find any additional information on the results of the necropsy.

I was wondering if knew if the findings had been released?

Thanks, and keep up the great work on the site!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/12  at  08:38 PM

Tallin - I haven’t heard anything yet, but it could be because the necropsy results were inconclusive, or they could be still pending. I sent an email to Jesse Grantham at the FWS and will post here any news that I find out.

Posted by jason  on  10/13  at  08:27 PM

I just received an email from Jesse Grantham of the FWS. There’s nothing yet on the cause of death, but Jesse states that it appears AC2 was in poor body condition before death and that he was heavily scavenged before recovery so there wasn’t much body tissue or organs to work with.

Jesse also added “A great loss. He was a special bird. The last of the Santa Barbara
back-country birds.”

Posted by jason  on  10/19  at  11:10 AM

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