Perhaps the largest Easter egg to be found Sunday morning was laid in Los Angeles by a 6-year-old California condor named Cachuma.
A three-by-five-inch pale blue egg was found by Los Angeles zookeepers in the condor’s cage at 6 a.m., about a month after Cachuma laid an egg that raised the hopes of the zoo’s biologists, trying to save the giant vulture-like birds from extinction.
That egg proved to be infertile. But with Cachuma’s latest effort, zoo officials said, the condor is following a natural pattern of “clutching” or laying eggs in one-month intervals, something that no condor has done in captivity, said Dr. Mike Wallace, the zoo’s curator of birds.
Zoo officials have placed the latest egg in incubation, and will be able to tell if it is fertile in about a week, Wallace said.
With only 28 condors in captivity, and none believed to be living in the wild, Wallace said, conservationists and the general public have followed the birds’ exploits carefully.
About a month ago, a fertile egg was laid at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Another egg, which produced the only condor chick born in captivity, was laid at the park about a year ago. It takes two months for a condor egg to incubate, Wallace said. The Los Angeles Zoo is home to 14 condors and the San Diego park houses 14 others.
Zoo biologists are hoping that they can build up the numbers of condors in captivity so they can eventually release them to live and breed in the wild, Wallace said.