On April 19, 1987 the last known California Condor to exist in the wild was taken into captivity. The California Condor is one of the rarest of all North American birds and one of the rarest birds in the world. In fact, during the first half of the century there were only 60 individual condors. Now there is less than 40 despite the conservation efforts that are put forth by biologists and other American authorities. Today the California Condor's range is limited to a small region that is north of Los Angeles. Soaring at speeds of 35-40 miles per hour the California Condor cleaned carrion from roads, ranches and beaches. There is absolutely no record of these magnificent birds attacking a living animal, however they were routinely shot, mostly by farmers and ranchers. Also California Condors were being exterminated by lead poisoning. However, zoologists are trying to change the condor's upcoming fate. Molloko is the first ever captive condor that was bred in captivity in history, born in April, 1988 at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Its future lies in the hands of captive breeding and when it gets older, reintroduction to the wild. Hopefully Molloko's story will help educate the public.
The California Condor is about 3-4 feet in length and varies in weight from 20-30 pounds. The California condor has a huge wingspan which is about 9-10 and a half feet. When nesting they nest in cracks of rocks and lay only one egg.
This bird's plumage is black with a tint of blue metallic reflections. It has white bars underneath its wing.
For more information about the recovery of these birds, visit the San Diego Wild Animal Park Condorminium. Another great resource, which includes the total number of California Condors in zoos and in the wild, and the history of the condor's plight can be found at the L.A. Zoo.