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Public invited to release of endangered California Condors on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

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California condor soaring with wings outstretched
Jim Shuler, Utah DWR

VERMILION CLIFFS, Ariz. – This year has proven exciting for California Condors in Arizona and Utah with the milestone hatching of the 1,000th condor at Zion National Park, but the excitement is far from over as the 23rd annual public condor release is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28. The public is invited to join the recovery effort by witnessing first-hand a spectacular release into the wild of several captive-bred young condors on National Public Lands Day. Up to four California Condors will be released by The Peregrine Fund atop the spectacular ledges of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona at 11 a.m. Sept. 28. The public is welcome to observe the release from a viewing area where spotting scopes provided by partners and Swarovski Optik will be set up, and project personnel will be available to answer questions. The release coincides with National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance America’s public lands. National Public Lands Day involves the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies, along with state and local governments and private groups.
This will be the 23rd annual public release of condors in Arizona since the southwest condor recovery program began in 1996. The young condors are some of the birds that hatched at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, Oregon Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and were then transported to Vermilion Cliffs National Monument for release into the wild.

The historical California Condor population declined to just 22 individuals in the 1980s when the greater California Condor Recovery Program was initiated to save the species from extinction. As of August 2019, there are 92 condors in the wild in the rugged canyon country of northern Arizona and southern Utah, and the total world population of endangered California Condors numbers nearly 500 individuals, with more than half flying the skies of Arizona, Utah, California and Mexico.

The Arizona-Utah recovery effort is a cooperative program by federal, state and private partners, including The Peregrine Fund, Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management’s Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Grand Canyon and Zion national parks, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and Kaibab and Dixie national forests among many other supporting groups and individuals.

For more information about California Condors in Arizona: https://www.peregrinefund.org/condor
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