The California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is the sole member of its genus Gymnogyps, and within its family Cathartidae all but one of the seven genera are monotypic. The California condor is the largest land bird in North America. -
Historically the species had a large range down the West coast of North America. However, by 1937 the range had contracted to California only. To ensure the survival of the species, in 1987 all the remaining wild birds were placed in a captive breeding programme. -
It has suffered at the hand of persecution, lead poisoning and habitat destruction. In 1987 the 27 remaining wild birds were taken into a captive breeding programme. Reintroduction began in 1991, and has led to the wild population increasing to ~450 birds. In 2003 the first chick successfully fledged from a nest cave in the wild since the reintroduction – with consistent conservation attention and a more open dialogue on the use of lead-based ammunition, the species will hopefully reach a steady and healthy population. -
To maintain the current small population condors are monitored and treated for lead poisoning, without which the population would likely crash again. The condors ingest the lead from animals wounded or killed with lead-based ammunition; which builds up in their system to toxic levels. Their lifestyle; not breeding until they are at least six years old, and only having one chick once every other year, leaves them vulnerable to changes in their habitats. -
Thank to @kiliiiyuyan for this amazing photo. 📸
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