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California condor is being treated for cancerous tumor

California condor is being treated for cancerous tumor
Almiyi, a California condor like the bird in this file photo, has cancer and is being treated at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Alarming news from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park: Almiyi, a female California condor, has cancer.

Almiyi, hatched at the park in 1983, has produced several offspring and played a key role in the effort to bring the condor, North America's largest bird, back from the brink of extinction.

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Almiyi has a tumor above her mouth, including her beak, and is undergoing radiation therapy. Experts at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of San Diego are assisting the zoo's veterinarians.

By 1982, when the California captive propagation program began at the Safari Park and elsewhere, the wild population of condors had dwindled to fewer than two dozen due to habitat destruction, poaching and lead poisoning.

More than 400 condors now exist, more than half of them in the wild, officials said.

Initial assessments are "promising" but Almiyi's "quality of life" will be watched closely over the next several weeks, zoo officials said.

Twitter: @LATsandiego

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