The Earth is a like a huge mansion housing millions of species (Cunningham 109). Species range from gorillas to humans from birds to alligators. There many species on Earth many alike and many vastly different. However many species are becoming threatened, endangered or even extinct. A specific species that is endangered is the California Condor.
The California Condor whose scientific name is Gymnogyps Californianous is part of the vulture family (???California Condor???). The name Gymnogyps Californianous comes from Native American time, Gymnogyps means ???naked vulture??? which refers to their bald head and neck (???Wings of the Spirit???) and Californianous indicates the range of where the bird lives (???California Condor???). They are the largest flying bird in North America with wing spans reaching as big as ten feet from tip to tip (???California Condors ??“ National Geographic???). The present population is 160 but in 1982 was as low as 25 (“NPCA | California Condor”). Thousands and thousands of years ago the California Condor lived up and down both the east and the west coast but in the 1900s the population decreased and the Condors only lived in Southern California (“NPCA | California Condor”). Due to many captive breeding places set up for the California Condor breeders have been able to try and restore the population (“NPCA | California Condor”).
The California Condor can be found along the pacific coast from British Columbia to Baja California (???California Condor???). They can also be found by the Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona (???California Condor???). The California Condor likes to live in mountainous areas
because like the vulture they like to soar in the wind currents instead of flap their wings to fly (“NPCA | California Condor”). The California Condor feasts on large carcasses of mammals such as cattle, sheep, deer, and horses killed by other animals that are in a state of decay (???California Condor???). This is important in the ecosystem because they remove carcasses and help with the safe disposal of dead, decomposing and diseased animals (???ADW: Gymnogyps Californianus???). Since the adult California Condor can up to three pounds of meat a day a large population is important to keep the environment clean of decomposing carcasses. (???ADW: Gymnogyps Californianus???).
The California Condor was once a very sacred bird to the Native Americans (???California Condors ??“ National Geographic??™) but are now being slowly reintroduced to the coast of California after a major decline in their population. The population of this bird is threatened by habitat loss, shootings, pesticide residue, lead poisoning, low birth rate, and collisions with power lines (“NPCA | California Condor”). The California Condor is solely being saved by captive breeders. The California Condor can only reproduce once they reach the age of six years old but they only can lay one egg every other year (???ADW: Gymnogyps Californianus???). However if that egg is removed then the bird can produce another, because of this scientists have started taking the eggs out of the California Condor and placing them in incubation in order to get the population back up (???California Condors ??“ National Geographic??™).
Scientists have been working on increasing the population of the California Condor and keep them from going extinct. So far they have been successful in adding to the population and the California Condor are known for being part of a famous captive breeding program that may save them from extinction (???California Condors ??“ National Geographic??™). At the Grand Canyon everyone was excited to see that the California Condor has been reintroduced to the wild and about the first California Condor egg hatching and surviving in the wilderness in over a century
(“GCNPF – Condors in Grand Canyon”). The birth of these new baby condors brought the population up to 51 in 2004 almost half of the population living in the wild (“GCNPF – Condors in Grand Canyon”). The Grand Canyon National Park Foundation provides funding to help protect the California Condor population as well as support the captive breeding programs (“GCNPF – Condors in Grand Canyon”). Tom Fetter who was a past president of the San Diego Zoological Society set up a fund at the International Community Foundation in order to receive extra funding to help the California Condor population (???Fund Established???).
In the Grand Canyon park technicians will continue to watch the population of the California Condor and make sure they continue increasing the population (“GCNPF – Condors in Grand Canyon”). Scientists up and down the west coast have these captive breeding places set up in which they will continue trying to make the population of the California Condor go from endangered to stable.
The California Condor is obviously not the bird that is endangered. Some species that are also endangered and related to the California Condor are the Andean Condor (Vultur Gryphus), the American Black Vulture (Coragyps Atratus), and the King Vulture ((Sarcoramphus papa) (???ARKive???). The Andean Condor lives in South America and is one of the largest flying birds in
the world (???ARKive???). The American Black Vulture can be found in open southeast areas of the United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America (???American Black Vultures???) and the King Vulture lives between south Mexico and Argentina (???King Vulutures???).
The California Condor is an endangered species which is important to the ecological system. Many scientists are working together to increase the population of this once sacred bird. Hopefully with these scientists help, funding from organizations and donations from families there will be enough money to keep these captive breeding programs running and the population of the California Condor will be back up in no time
? “ADW: Gymnogyps Californianus: Information.” Animal Diversity Web. Web. 04 Apr. 2010.
“American Black Vultures: Species Information and Photos.” Web. 04 Apr. 2010.
“California Condor.” California Condor. Web. 4 Apr. 2010.
“California Condors, California Condor Pictures, California Condor Facts – National Geographic.” Animals, Animal Pictures, Wild Animal Facts – National Geographic. Web. 04 Apr. 2010.
Cunningham, William P. and Mary Ann Cunningham. Principles of Environmental Science: Inquiry & Applications. New York: Farrar, 2002. Print
? “FUND ESTABLISHED TO PROMOTE THE CALIFORNIA CONDOR.” International Community Foundation Connections (2004): 1. Web. 4 Apr. 2010.
“GCNPF – Condors in Grand Canyon.” Grand Canyon National Park Foundation. Web. 04 Apr. 2010.
“King Vultures Aka American King Vultures: Species Information and Photos.” Web. 04 Apr. 2010.
? “NPCA | California Condor.” National Parks Conservation Association | Protecting Our National Parks for Future Generations. Web. 4 Apr. 2010.
? “Species That Are Closely Related to the California Condor (Gymnogyps Californianus) – ARKive.” ARKive – Discover the Worlds Most Endangered Species. Web. 04 Apr. 2010.
“Wings of the Spirit: California Condor.” California State Parks. Web. 04 Apr. 2010.