Endangered Condor Treated at Raptor Center
For Immediate Release
Jan Williams, College of Veterinary Medicine, 612-624-6228, Pager: 612-534-4740
Endangered California Condor, Largest North American Land Bird, Treated at University of Minnesota Raptor Center
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (Nov. 14, 2005) – A 1-year-old California condor from Arizona is undergoing treatment for a broken wing at The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. Known as Condor #350, the bird is one of only four condors that have hatched in the wild and survived this past year.
The condor was injured near the Grand Canyon on Nov. 4. Representatives of The Peregrine Fund and the Phoenix Zoo flew the bird via Northwest Airlines to The Raptor Center for evaluation and treatment on Nov. 8. The condor is expected to remain hospitalized for another 10-14 days for treatment, after which it will be returned to Arizona in preparation for release at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
“This speaks volumes about The Raptor Center’s national reputation as the premiere medical center for birds of prey,” says Jeffrey Klausner, D.V.M., dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “This endangered condor was sent all the way from Arizona to be treated by the best veterinarians at the University of Minnesota.”
“We’re both thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to care for this magnificent bird,” says Patrick Redig, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of The Raptor Center. “We’re putting our years of knowledge and experience in fracture management to work, as well as making every effort to prevent the condor from becoming habituated.” Habituation — becoming too comfortable around humans — can occur in condors and other wildlife that have regular contact with people, which is detrimental to their survival.
The California condor is North America’s largest land bird, weighing up to 22 pounds with a wingspan of nine and a half feet. A highly endangered species, its population reached a low of 22 in 1982 due to lead poisoning and habitat degradation. Since then, captive breeding programs at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, San Diego Wild Animal Park, Los Angeles Zoo, and Oregon Zoo and release efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have resulted in a slow recovery for the species. There are currently 274 California condors in the world – 127 in the wild in Arizona and California, 133 in captivity, and 14 awaiting release.
Limited Photo Opportunity:
To prevent the condor from becoming habituated, The Raptor Center is limiting photo opportunities to Tuesday, Nov. 15, from 11-11:30 a.m., while the condor is under anesthesia. The Raptor Center is located at 1920 Fitch Avenue on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota.
The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine specializes in the medical care, rehabilitation, and conservation of eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons. In addition to treating approximately 800 birds a year, the program provides training in raptor medicine and surgery for veterinarians from around the world, reaches more than 250,000 people each year through public education programs and events, and identifies emerging issues related to raptor health and populations.