The California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is a North American bird specie in the New World vulture family as well as the the largest North American land bird.
Once numbering in the thousands, the California condor could be found from British Columbia to Baja California, Mexico but these coastal populations declined dramatically as European pioneers settled within its range until the species near extinction by the mid-1980s.
Restoration of California condors to Baja is especially timely in light of recent and ongoing problems that have plagued condor reintroduction efforts in central California and Arizona. Numerous birds have been lost as a result of feeding on lead-contaminated carcasses, and most of the first wild chicks to hatch in California have perished as a result of ingesting bits of glass, plastic, and metal, apparently fed to them by their parents.
Historically, the Sierra San Pedro Martir region of northern Baja has been spared to intensive human development, and there is very little trash or human-generated debris in the area. Given their unparalleled flight capabilities, we anticipate that reintroduced condors in Baja will ultimately range across the U.S. border. Furthering the restoration of a viable condor population to Baja at this time represents a key opportunity to provide connectivity to, and if necessary bolster, the U.S. population until environmental lead and trash problems can be solved.
Natural predators that inhabits the same ecosystem, as crows, eagles, pumas, coyotes, wild cats, could also cause egg loss and any individual, either young or adults.
In 2009, COSTASALVAjE began to participate in this conservation effort developing strong education/outreach activities for a variety of audiences to promote understanding of and appreciation for the California condor,
Around the middle 70´s some recommendations and actions were taken in the U. S. in order to preserve California Condors. The California condor recovery plan was formulated, with the goal of mantaining a population of 50 condors distributed in the same areas that they occupied in 1974, with a birth rate of 4 individuals per year and the minimum possible death rate.
The plan recognized 3 main needs: to have nesting and perching available sites as well as a suitable food source. It was necessary to establish new nesting areas and to start a captivity reproduction program. It was also needed to implement legal actions in order to protect perch site as to prohibit motorized activities, areal routes and to eliminate all human activities. An education active campaign was launched in order to avoid mortality and strengthen comprehension by local communities.
At the beggining of the XX century, Mexican institutions involved in natural resources conservation together with U. S. institutions, coordinated the California condor reintroduction project at Sierra de San Pedro Martir (SSPM) National Park. The Instituto Nacional de Ecologia designed an action plan including biological, social, financial and administrative perspectives in order to guarantee the establishment of a long term feasible population of California condors.
In march 2002, the California condor is included in the Mexican list of endangered species under the category of "probably extinct".
In May 2002, the appropriate reintroduction site was chosen in order to establish the aviary. In the same year the aviary construction began with the collaboration of CICESE and San Diego Zoo. In August of the same year the first 6 specimens arrived SSPM National Park.
The program goal of 20 condors flying free in 2006 has reached already. Nowadays the population is 25 condors in SSPM, 20 flying free and 5 in the aviary.
Temporal and permanent facilities had been built at SSPM National Park in order to provide the most suitable field work station with no public services as electricity, fuel access, water, telephone and paved roads. The ability to run the program permanently, even during the hard winters, is due to the support of individuals, foundations and institutions.
Our success in Environmental communication and education include:
- Design and distribution of posters and brochures in communities around SSPM National Park
- Design of educational materials as a mobile display
- Informative talks in elementary and secondary schools, reaching already 8000 kids
- Appearance in media as news papers, radio, and TV
- Presence in regional and local festivals all over the year
- Cross-department coordinated work (society, government, national and international institutions)
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- Protect and defend their habitat. If you visit SSPM National Park avoid perturbing or to shooting condors; trying to kill them is severely punished.
- Poisoning Pumas or Coyotes is a federal crime and could cause Condors death if they feed on their contaminated carcasses.
- If you visit SSPM National Park avoid littering.
- Do not be shy and let us know if you see a Condor, please annotate the color and number of their label, the site of sighting and their activity (flying, perching, eating). Inform about your sighting to COSTASALVAjE, phone number +52 622.214.171.124 in Ensenada or any incident to Edgar Torres at SEFOA, San Quintín phone number, 6126.96.36.199 and 6188.8.131.52 or SEFOA, Mexicali phone number 686.551.73.18- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to participate in any event or festival, or in any fundraising activity, or to receive any other information
- Make a draw or write a story or poem in order to be published in our web site
- Hunters and ranchers have a long tradition of wildlife conservation and the best way to help conserve the condor is to hunt with non-lead ammunition. High performance all-copper bullets are now available in most rifle calibers. In comparison to lead and copper-jacketed bullets, all-copper bullets do not fragment and are far less toxic when ingested. Scavengers like the condor are less likely to ingest one large mushroomed bullet versus many small bullet fragments scattered throughout a carcass or gut pile.
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contactSofia Gomez Vallarta
Pogram Coordinator: Environmental Education
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