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.
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