The California condor egg laid by a condor hatched in captivity is believed to be infertile but will be kept in an incubator for two more days in case it shows signs of embryo development, officials at the San Diego Wild Animal Park said Wednesday.
Don Sterner, the head condor keeper, said the 9 1/4-ounce egg was candled Wednesday and showed no signs of development, and he held little hope it would prove fertile.
Still, he said, the egg will be kept in the incubator until it is a week old before a final conclusion is reached.
The egg was discovered Friday morning, and was laid by Almiyi, who was hatched at the Wild Animal Park nearly six years ago. Condors, however, are not usually sexually mature until age 7. Officials nonetheless hailed Almiyi’s egg laying, calling it “a behavioral milestone” because it showed that condors hatched in captivity and never exposed to the wild will still reproduce.
Almiyi’s egg was one of three that arrived at the Wild Animal Park last week. An egg laid Feb. 21 at the park by a once-wild condor called UN1 was declared fertile Monday, and a chick is expected within two months. It will be a sibling of Molloko, also bred by UN1 and AC4 at the Wild Animal Park and the first California condor conceived in captivity.
A second egg, laid at the Los Angeles Zoo on Feb. 20 and shipped to the Wild Animal Park for incubation, was found to be infertile because its breeding partners, both taken from the wild, were sexually immature.