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LOS PADRES FOREST | VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS

Officials Launch Search for Condor

September 26, 1996|JEFF McDONALD

Federal wildlife officials Wednesday announced an ongoing search for an endangered California condor that wandered away from its roost in Los Padres National Forest last month.

The bird, which was released into the forest in February, was last seen Aug. 14, when it disappeared with another California condor.

The second bird showed up about three weeks later, but officials fear the missing vulture may have become the victim of a fire that burned in San Luis Obispo County several weeks ago.

"We are still hopeful that at some point this bird will reappear perfectly healthy and fine," said Jane Hendron of the California Condor Recovery Program.

The missing bird was healthy and feeding regularly at the time of its disappearance.

All of the condors in the program are equipped with radio transmitters that allow officials to track the birds' movements. But biologists have lost track of the signal from the missing vulture.

They recently completed an unsuccessful aerial search designed to pick up any stray signal that may have been blocked by hills or distance, Hendron said.

The condor recovery program has not lost a bird in more than 18 months. But there are just 16 of the endangered birds left in the program, Hendron said.

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