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Yurok Tribe And Feds Working To Restore California Condors

Christian Mehlführer via Wikimedia Commons

The largest bird in the United States may soon take flight in Oregon again. A partnership between federal agencies and the Yurok tribe plans to reintroduce California condors as early as the fall of 2020.

The condors range once spanned the west coast from Baja to British Columbia. But their numbers plummeted during the 20th century largely due to habitat loss.

The condors play a large role in Yurok culture. Tiana Williams is a wildlife biologist for the Yurok tribe and tribal member herself.

“Condor restoration is really an expression of sovereignty in its original sense,” she says. “Where we were the managers of our land and we were they care takers and we’re regaining that through actions like this.”

The plan is to release the condors into Redwoods National Park in Humboldt County, California. The birds will be tracked and periodically tested for toxins as a part of the reintroduction process.

There were only twenty two Condors left in the late 1980s when they were brought in to captivity. There are now nearly 500 birds. More than 300 have been released in Northern Arizona, Baja, and Southern California. 

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