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Four California condors bred in captivity in the process of being released into the wild

Mexico City, Mexico — Four California condors have been transferred from the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City to the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir mountain range in Baja California.

The transfer of the three females and one male to the reintroduction zone in Baja California is part of the United States-Mexico Binational Program for the Recovery and Conservation of the California condor.

The Secretary of the Environment of Mexico City, Marina Robles García, announced that the four condors, who were born in the Chapultepec Zoo, were transferred to San Pedro Mártir June 30.

“We said goodbye to four of the condors that were born in the Chapultepec Zoo, four condors that we took to the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir, to an aviary there, which is part of the binational program between Mexico and the United States to be able to open an opportunity to this species that was considered extinct, extirpated, in Mexico in 1939.

“Mexico joined this program in 2002. We are very happy to take these specimens to start an adaptation process in this aviary in San Pedro Mártir so that we can later reintroduce them to the wild,” she said.

From the Chapultepec Zoo, Robles García mentioned that this transfer is a reflection of the effort made by zoos to prevent the extinction of the species.

“It is a farewell that makes us very happy. It is part of a reflection that shows the importance of the work of zoos for the conservation of species. The work of zoos in the world has allowed 25 percent of the wild species that were at imminent risk of extinction, a condition like the one experienced by the California condors, to change their status which today, are in clear recovery,” she explained.

The General Director of Zoos and Wildlife Conservation, Fernando Gual Sill, explained that the California Condor was on the verge of becoming extinct a few years ago, but “thanks to the collaboration between zoos in Mexico and the United States, its reintroduction and the establishment of a population of between 45 and 50 condors in the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir, in Baja California, moving from the category “Probably extinct in the wild” to “Endangered”.

Two condors that were born in 2019 named MAAU (paternal grandmother in the Kiliwa language) and KUAPP (butterfly in the Kiliwa language), along with two others that were born in 2021 KURI-KURI (traditional singing ceremonies of the Yuman peoples) and TRIQUI (language of the indigenous people of Baja California and other regions of Mexico), are the result of the reproduction work under human care at the Chapultepec Zoo.

“The Chapultepec Zoo is the only one in Mexico that is participating in the reproduction of this species to later reintroduce it to the wild. So far, the zoo has contributed 11 offspring to the program, four of them which have just been transferred and two others which are still very small, will move to the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir the following year,” added Gual Sill.

The reintroduction process begins with the transfer of the condors to the pre-release aviary in San Pedro Mártir, which they will share with an adult condor who will be the mentor of these four young condors and will teach them to survive in the wild. They will be released into the wild within a few months.