CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 8, 1998 |
Sixteen years after nearly becoming extinct, California condors are making a surprising comeback, expanding their numbers and their range far beyond the Ventura County back country where the ambitious experiment to rescue them began. Scientists credit new chick rearing and release strategies for enabling the condor to wing its way back from the brink of annihilation. In the last decade, the California condor population has increased fivefold, to 150 birds.
September 11, 1998 |
The babies were weeks overdue, and until hours before their birth, nobody even knew for sure if the mother was pregnant. But after days of nail-biting and pacing--by both Cheng Cheng the panda and her keepers--the gentle-looking bear gave birth Thursday morning to twins. Pandas, one of the world's fastest-fading species, are also among the most mysterious. The black-and-white creatures are called "living fossils" because of the way their breeding patterns have failed to evolve.
August 1, 1998 |
One of the five California condors released into the Ventana Wilderness has been recaptured and treated for a heart murmur, a condition that could prevent it from being re-released. Kelly Sorenson of the Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary recovered the condor last week after the bird was found dehydrated and lethargic in its perch on a cliff. In a dramatic rescue, members of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade lowered Sorenson about 450 feet down the cliff on a rope at night to retrieve the bird.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 23, 1998
A pair of endangered California condors at the Los Angeles Zoo produced an egg much later than usual for the breeding season, and zoo officials are crediting El Nino, a curator said Friday. "Blame it on El Nino," said Mike Wallace, the zoo's curator of birds. "Cooler weather increases their activity, warmer weather shuts them down reproductively. We really haven't had warm weather this spring." The egg, from birds named Mandan and Tama, was laid May 3.
May 7, 1998 |
The mate of a Mexican gray wolf that was shot by a camper last week has given birth to pups, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman said Wednesday. "I do not know the size of the litter," said agency spokesman Tom Bauer. "We heard sounds from her den. Good sounds. Sounds of additional creatures in there." He said officials think the pups were born Monday night.
April 10, 1998 |
The fickleness of Mother Nature is no match for the advances of science. Shi Shi, a male giant panda at the San Diego Zoo, has again shown a lack of libido toward his female counterpart. So researchers at the San Diego Zoo decided Wednesday to artificially inseminate Bai Yun rather than pass on another year of panda procreation. "We feel that this is the responsible thing to do," said Donald Lindburg, a reproduction behaviorist with the zoo.
April 2, 1998 |
She's swimming, she's vocalizing, she's "spy-hopping," she's staying aloof from others of her kind, and she seems in no hurry to leave Southern California. All in all, the first full day of freedom for J.J., the California gray whale, was declared a success Wednesday by her former caregivers at the Sea World aquatic theme park. "She's investigating her environment," said Jim Antrim, Sea World's general curator. Released Tuesday morning from a Coast Guard cutter two miles out to sea, J.J.
March 26, 1998
Poor weather and rough seas have forced a delay in the release of J.J., the orphaned California gray whale, until Tuesday at the earliest. The Coast Guard, in tandem with Sea World and the Navy, had planned to release the 18,000-pound mammal into the Pacific Ocean today. Officials at Sea World, where J.J. has been housed for 14 months after being rescued off Marina del Rey, hope that the whale will join other gray whales on their annual trek from Baja California to Alaska.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 9, 1997 |
The scene was so remarkable that even a seasoned condor tracker like Mark Vekasy was nearly moved to tears. Eleven California condors, about one-10th of the entire population, were riding the thermals in blue skies high above northern Arizona's dramatic red sandstone canyons on wings stretching nearly 10 feet. It was a vision right out of history. "They were in a real tight group just circling around.
November 2, 1997
Wildlife tourism and eco-tourism have become big business worldwide ("Is This Bird Worth $20 Million?" by Michael J. Ybarra, Sept. 14). And the California condor is what many biologists call a "charismatic megafauna"--a large animal that always manages to draw a crowd. Of course, birders and wildlife enthusiasts everywhere would like to see a condor in its native habitat. If we spend $50 million for restoration, and the condor population stays healthy for just 20 years, it will require only 2,000 wildlife visitors a year, spending $1,250 per trip, to amortize the cost of recovery.