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Court Approves the Capture of Last Condors

June 11, 1986|DAVID SMOLLAR | Times Staff Writer

Plans to bring into protective captivity the remaining California condors in the wild could receive new impetus as a result of a federal appeals court decision in Washington that was made public late Tuesday.

The District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a lower federal District Court injunction banning the capture of the remaining birds, the attorney for the Los Angeles and San Diego zoos said Tuesday. Attorney Cynthia Ryan said that the U.S. Justice Department notified her of the decision.

Ryan represented the zoos at the appeals court level, supporting the position of the U.S. Justice and Interior departments that bringing the huge, endangered birds in from the wild was the best way to prevent their extinction.

The National Audubon Society had argued successfully at the district court level against the captures, saying that the federally protected condor habitat northwest of Los Angeles might not be preserved if no birds are left in the wild and that none of the condors have been bred successfully in captivity.

Only three California condors remain in the wild. There are 24 in captivity, 12 at the Los Angeles Zoo and 12 at the San Diego Zoo, most of them raised from eggs taken from mating couples in the wild.

A healthy condor chick was born Friday at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, and the chick's mother was captured successfully on Friday and brought to the park under a special agreement reached between the Audubon Society and the Interior department.

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