Biologists determine Utah’s 1st condor chick hasn’t survived

SOUTHERN UTAH – Hopes wildlife biologists had for Utah’s first wild-hatched California condor chick were dashed earlier this month as evidence mounted that the chick may not have survived.

According to a Dec. 17 news release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, biologists for The Peregrine Fund and Zion National Park began noticing a lack of visual observations related to the chick’s well-being.

The official announcement that a wild California condor chick had been born in Southern Utah was made in July. Before then, biologists strongly suspected an egg had been hatched due to the nesting behavior of two adult condors. The nesting pair had claimed a rock cavity some 1,000 feet above a remote canyon in Zion National Park.

Biologists learned about the nest location through radio and Global Positioning System transmitters mounted on the two condors.

According to wildlife officials, a California condor takes six months to fledge, or develop wings large enough for flight.

Observations of the condor parents visiting the Utah nest cave suggested the chick was doing well during the six months leading up to fledging, but by late November – a month after the predicted fledge date – biologists noted something was wrong. The chick quit coming out to the cave opening and, soon after, the parents decreased their visitation to the cave.

After multiple trips to investigate, biologists concluded the chick had not survived.

“The loss of Utah’s first chick is a hard reminder that critters have a tough go of it in the wild,” said Chris Parish, condor program director for The Peregrine Fund, which manages the wild Arizona-Utah flock.

Though the loss of the Utah chick is a disappointment for biologists, they are nonetheless encouraged by the continuing success of two other condor chicks born in northern Arizona. Those chicks survived their fledging and appear to be doing well.

Condors, like other wild animals, are most vulnerable in their first few months, according to the press release. That is why condor parents tend to their young for a year after fledging.

There are now 73 condors in the wild in Arizona and Utah, including the two new Arizona fledglings. A total of 25 chicks have hatched in the wild since condors were first reintroduced in Arizona in 1996.

The giant birds were listed as an endangered species in 1967.

The recovery effort is a cooperative program conducted by federal, state and private partners, including The Peregrine Fund, Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Strip Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management, Grand Canyon and Zion national parks, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and Kaibab and Dixie national forests.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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20 Comments

  • Sentencia December 27, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Over the years I have read articles and watched nature shows describing mankind’s attempts to help the California Condor survive. Stepping back a little, one can see this animal species is trying its best to follow Natures plan. It is trying to go extinct and we humans keep throwing gobs of money in a vain attempt to help it survive. Some will disagree with me, and that’s ok, but one should take a look at other large birds that live off carrion. The Turkey vulture, a cousin to the Condor, is very successful and can be seen all over the West. Why is this bird doing so well while the California Condor struggles? Human’s need to step back and recognize the fact that Nature always wins out…. Always….

    • Joe Smith December 27, 2014 at 10:27 am

      You thing the bird is “trying to go extinct”? I’m sorry that you are such an idiot. Maybe there is hope for you…

      • mesaman December 27, 2014 at 5:14 pm

        No Joe, you are the idiot. You seem to think you can trump nature and win. Wrong, you lose.

    • Koolaid December 27, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Trying to go extinct? That extinction process had a little help with the gun morons shooting it into extinction. Obama wasn’t around to take those idiots’ guns away, or the bird wouldn’t be fighting for survival.

      • mesaman December 27, 2014 at 8:50 pm

        You’ve yet to be correct on anything you have blogged. This comment is no exception. Say this mantra over and over;
        “I must not believe what I think, I must not believe what I think”. Then try finger painting.

      • Joe Smith December 28, 2014 at 12:17 am

        It’s Obama’s fault. He should have took them guns away sooner. Darn libruls!

        • Koolaid December 28, 2014 at 9:05 am

          Those Liberal and Democrat Condors should have left if they didn’t like it.

    • real life December 29, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Congratulations sentencia, you sir win dumbest comment in St. G News history.

  • Char December 27, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    It is not trying to go extinct. Mankind killed its chances by using lead ammo. I am still unhappy that hunters do not want to switch to lead free ammo.

  • ladybugavenger December 27, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Let’s have a moment of silence…………poor birdie……(human) natures plan to extinct the bird

  • koolaid December 27, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    As ugly as those birds are, mating must be a double bagger activity, one for each of them in case the other’s bag comes off.

  • Joe Smith December 28, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Yeah I’m sure all kinds of animal species just sit around thinking “gee, maybe we should just toss in the towel and go extinct.” Got some real morons floating around these parts. It would be amazing if it wasn’t… I think it’s always a real loss to see any kind of animal gone forever, but some of these morons truly don’t care. They should be ashamed.

  • Red Rocker December 28, 2014 at 9:29 am

    The only reason we are here is to act as caretakers for the planet A role that we are unable to perform, or even recognize in our hubris.

  • Sentencia December 28, 2014 at 9:46 am

    The liberals like to blame lead shot from firearms which just reveals their lack of facts. The California Condor, contrary to liberal spin, does not suffer from lead shot poisoning. If, what you say were true, why isn’t the Turkey vulture population struggling? Honest study’s show that California Condors are not dying of lead shot poisoning. It’s just a fact that Nature provides the venue and the critters compete for space and food. Some make it, some don’t.

    • Joe Smith December 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      I think maybe you ate a few too many lead shots yourself. Might explain the brain damage.

  • Red Rocker December 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Turkey Vultures and Eagles are also affected by lead shot poisoning. The Condor breeds slowly and lives longer, and had much lower historical populations, thus being more affected.
    Lead is poisonous to Humans also….What possible detriment could banning lead shot have?

    It is easy to fact check post

    • Joe Smith December 28, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      I don’t know, but this sentencia guy likes to make up his own facts…

  • Evil twins mommy December 28, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Wow when I first started reading all these comments I thought it was a discussion about the results of the last election

  • IN THE GAME December 28, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Buzzards…. They’re all Buzzards.

  • tight magic undies December 28, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    These dam birds are all trying to go extinct! Lead bullets for everyone! It’s all good though, we will baptize them after they are all dead.

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