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Captive Breeding

December 14, 1986
Biologists on Saturday captured one of the three known remaining California condors in the wild and transported it by airplane in good condition to the San Diego Wild Animal Park to join a captive breeding program for the highly endangered species. The bird, designated as AC-2, was snared by a net while feeding on the Hudson Ranch in the foothills of southern Kern County. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced purchase of the 11,500-acre ranch last week as a future condor refuge.
April 8, 2014 | By Tony Perry
An Assembly committee Tuesday called for additional research on a bill that would end killer whale shows at SeaWorld San Diego. Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), chairman of the Parks, Water and Wildlife Committee, said the issue of killer whales in captivity is too complex to be decided after a hearing of less than two hours. The panel's action, called sending a bill to "interim study," triggers a process that will last until at least mid-2015, Rendon said. The action did not require a vote.
During most of the 1970s, the American red wolf--which once roamed from the Atlantic Coast to Texas and from the Everglades as far north as the Ohio River--was precariously near extinction. Now, in an ambitious effort to return the reclusive creature to the wild, two pairs bred in captivity have been conditioned since January in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the North Carolina-Tennessee border, for release in the Appalachian highlands.
April 8, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The lives of captive killer whales are nothing like those of their wild counterparts. Instead of roaming for miles every day in close-knit family groups, captive whales perform for audiences in tanks that, though roomier than those of early marine parks, are far too small for such large ocean predators. In the wild, killer whales have not been known to kill humans or one another. The same cannot be said for the whales in amusement parks around the world, even though they represent only about a tenth of a percent of the numbers in the wild.
November 16, 1986 | LONN JOHNSTON, Times Staff Writer
Isolated far away from the daily crowds at the San Francisco Zoo, two young bald eagles huddled on a Monterey Cypress and glared at the visitor peeking through an observation slit. Their head feathers raised like the hackles of a angry dog. "They are very skittish around humans," whispered George Carpenter, a zoo biologist who studies the breeding behavior of bald eagles, "which is good. You have to be very careful. If this was the breeding season we wouldn't even be talking out here."
After nearly a decade in protective custody, the endangered California condor--which once ranged across the North American continent--will be returned to the wild in October, a team of scientists announced Friday. Hoinewut and Chocuyens, two condor chicks from the Los Angeles Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park respectively, will be 6 months old when airlifted into the rugged Sespe wilderness of Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County, 75 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
On one thing all sides agree: The giant panda, that childlike, overstuffed animal with the haunting black circles around its eyes, must be rescued from the ravages of modernity in its native China. After that, agreement tends to break down. As a result, the most popular animal ever brought to American zoos has all but disappeared from public view.
A slender red wolf paces back and forth on long, stick legs, her eyes fastened on her human keeper just beyond the cyclone fence of her enclosure. It is a tree-shaded affair, with an artificial brook made of concrete and recycled water. Although on display at the Los Angeles Zoo, the animal has a higher purpose than mere exhibition.
January 12, 1987
About 25 environmentalists and members of the Chumash Indian tribe quietly demonstrated outside the Los Angeles Zoo in protest against the captive breeding of California condors. The demonstrators expressed the view that the captive breeding program, which now involves 25 of the huge birds, will increase the chances that the condors will become extinct.
November 23, 2002 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Avian specialists from the San Diego Zoo will assist scientists in Hawaii in a last-ditch effort to save one of the world's rarest birds, the po'ouli, found only on the slopes of Haleakala Volcano in Maui, Hawaii. Only two females and one male are known to exist. The zoo, which has a program to help save Hawaii's endangered forest bird species, will be part of a captive breeding program in Hawaii.
March 25, 2014 | By Karin Klein
Killer whale shows may be a bad idea, but should they be illegal? An upcoming bill in the California Legislature would ban such shows in the state - which boils down to banning them at Sea World in San Diego - as well as forbidding captive breeding and the import or export of killer whales, which despite their names are actually the largest of the dolphins. It's increasingly hard to buy Sea World's contention that killer whales are happy colleagues of their human captors in this whole training and entertainment business.
July 5, 2011 | By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
It's a cool morning, and the Arabian oryx herd at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park is hungry and slightly hostile to the visitors in its midst. The dominant male, known as No. 337, fixes a cold stare, lets out a loud snort and waggles his sharp horns, ready to protect his harem and offspring. The females, with equally sharp horns, attempt to lead the visitors away from their babies, cat-sized creatures tucked in small crevasses in the ground. It's a matter of genetics: For eons, the herd's ancestors roamed the Arabian Peninsula, honing their survival skills.
May 16, 2010 | By Terry Gardner, Special to the Los Angeles Times
I admit it: I fall in love easily. First, it was with a 268-pound guy. Despite his youth, he was gray and wrinkled. But there were others as the day wore on. One had a face like a horse. Another was nice-enough looking, but that neck — oh, heavens, that neck. And yet another was way too fast for me. Oh, baby. Or, more correctly, babies. These were all animal babies — an African elephant, a zebra, a giraffe and a cheetah, respectively — I saw on a two-hour photo caravan at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park.
August 1, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Bai Yun, the giant panda at the San Diego Zoo, is pregnant, zoo officials said Tuesday. The father is Gao Gao, also at the San Diego Zoo. Bai Yun, 16, has had three cubs at the zoo: Hua Mei in 1999, Mei Sheng in 2003 and Su Lin in 2005. Bai Yun has been taken off exhibit and is expected to give birth within weeks, officials said.
June 1, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
The first panda released into the wild after being bred in captivity has died in China, apparently from a fall. Officials said the body bore injuries inflicted by wild pandas, and the animal may have died trying to escape. The body of 5-year-old Xiang Xiang was found Feb. 19 in the forests of Sichuan province, the official New China News Agency said. He survived less than a year of freedom, despite nearly three years of training on surviving in the wild.
April 29, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
China released a panda bred in captivity into the wild for the first time, and the animal scampered into a nearby bamboo forest where it will be monitored via satellite. Xiang Xiang, a 4-year-old male raised at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in Sichuan province, was trained for almost three years to survive in the wild, the official New China News Agency said. Almost 100 scientists, zookeepers and tourists saw him off.
April 28, 1993
A California condor chick hatched Tuesday at the Los Angeles Zoo, bringing the total of the endangered birds to 73. The chick, whose sex will be determined in three months by chromosome analysis, was the offspring of Topa Topa, captured in the wild in 1967, and his mate, Malibu. The chick had minced mouse for its first meal. Topa Topa was one of 14 California condors captured in the wild to launch a captive breeding program to save the species. He was the last of the 14 to reproduce.
The endangered California condor will be bred and raised next year in Idaho, in addition to Los Angeles and San Diego, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said Friday. There are now 63 of the giant vultures alive. One is roaming the hills and skies of the Sespe Condor Sanctuary north of Fillmore, six more are being held at a compound there awaiting release next month, and the remaining birds are being raised in the captive breeding programs at the San Diego Wild Animal Park and the Los Angeles Zoo.
September 2, 2005 | From Associated Press
An American-born panda has given birth to a pair of cubs in southwest China, the government said Thursday. Hua Mei, who lives in a panda research center in Wolong, a region in Sichuan province, gave birth to the cubs on Monday, the official Xinhua News Agency said. One was male and was being kept in an incubator, Xinhua said. The second one has been with its mother, so its gender is unknown. Both are in good condition, Xinhua said.
August 19, 2005 | From Times Wire Reports
The National Zoo's giant panda cub had his third veterinary checkup, which found him in good health, weighing 4.2 pounds and measuring 17 inches. "A solid little Tonka truck," pronounced chief veterinarian Suzan Murray after the 14-minute exam. The cub had gained 1.6 pounds since his last physical on Aug. 8, and had grown nearly three inches. At birth, on July 9, the cub probably weighed a quarter of a pound and was only a few inches long. The cub's heart and lungs sounded healthy, Murray said.
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