California Condor Milestones
Reintroducing the California Condor to Big Sur
• Prehistory – California Condors range along both coasts from British Columbia to Baja California and from New York to Florida.
• 1602 – First recorded condor sighting by a European, Father Antonio de la Ascension, in Monterey Bay.
• 1805 – Lewis and Clark report sighting a condor, calling it "beautiful buzzard of the Columbia".
• 1939 – National Audubon Society researcher Carl Koford begins landmark field studies. Koford estimates 60-100 condors remain in the wild.
• 1967 – California Condor is included in the first federal list of U.S. endangered species.
• 1975 – California Condor Recovery Team is established and the recovery plan is adopted.
• 1979 – 25-35 California Condors remain in the wild. Cooperative California Condor Conservation Program is formed.
• 1980-1987 – Field investigations and management programs include radio telemetry and captive incubation of wild eggs.
• 1982 – Only 22 California Condors remain in the wild.
• 1983 – First successful hatching for a wild California Condor egg in captivity.
• 1987 – Last wild California Condor taken into captivity. Only 27 condors remain in captive breeding facilities at Los Angeles Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park.
• 1988 – First successful breeding of captive California Condors at the San Diego Zoo.
• 1992 – Two captive-bred California Condors reintroduced into the wild, accompanied by two Andean condors
• 1993 – Third California Condor breeding center established at World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho.
• 1994 – Captive California Condors have laid a total of more than 100 eggs.
• 1996 – California Condor population reaches 103, including 13 in the wild. Releases begin in San Luis Obispo County, California, and near the Grand Canyon, Arizona.
• 1997 – Releases begin in Monterey County by Ventana Wildlife Society
• 1999 – California Condor population reaches 147, including 50 in the wild. The Big Sur flock is documented feeding on sea lion carcasses for the first time.
• 2000 – AC8 is the first of the wild-born birds re-released into the wild.
• 2001 – The Oregon Zoo joins the Recovery Program as the fourth captive breeding partner.
• 2002 – First chick born in the wild successfully fledges in Ventura County. Condors are released in Baja California.
• 2003 – Condors are released at Pinnacles National Monument, San Benito County, California.
• 2004 – AC9, the last condor taken from the wild in 1987 (re-released in 2002), sires a chick in the wild.
• 2006 – First nesting attempt for the re-introduced flock in Big Sur. The nest fails and eggshell fragments recovered are found to be thin. Condors in this flock observed feeding on a Gray Whale carcass for the first time in over 200 years.
• 2007 – Eggshell thinning research initiated in Big Sur. Wild-laid eggs are switched out with captive-laid eggs and hatched in captivity to maximize nest success.
• 2008 – First chick from a wild-laid egg fledges in the wild in Big Sur and survives, two additional chicks from captive-laid eggs fledge and one survives. The number of free-flying condors exceeds the number in captivity for first time in over 20 years. The use of lead bullets is outlawed in California within condor range.
• 2009 – First nest in San Benito County. In central California, 4 chicks successfully fledge in the wild and survive (one from a wild-laid egg and three from captive-laid eggs).
• 2010 – In central California, two chicks fledge in the wild (one from a wild-laid egg and one from a captive-laid egg). Broken egg discovered in Big Sur with thin eggshell fragments.
• 2011 – As of March 1, 2011, the California Condor population is 369 (192 in the wild and 177 in captivity).