Zookeepers kept watch Sunday on a special Easter egg in hopes that it holds what could be the first California condor chick to hatch in Los Angeles.
The large pale aqua egg was apparently laid early Sunday by Cachuma, a 6-year-old California condor, who was found tending it about 6 a.m. with her mate, Cayama, also 6, said Los Angeles Zoo spokeswoman Deborah Pollack.
Condor keepers should know in about a week whether the egg is fertile. If it is, it would be the first at the Los Angeles Zoo, home to 14 of the 28 California condors left in the world. The others are at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
Cachuma laid an egg about a month ago, but it was infertile. Pollack said the Easter egg is the first time a condor female in captivity has “double-clutched,” or laid two eggs in rapid succession.
“We have great hopes for this one,” Pollack said. If fertile, the egg could hatch in a little less than two months.
Condor keepers placed the egg in an incubator after using a complex set of maneuvers to remove it from its parents’ “condorminium,” or cage, without disturbing them.
Two other fertile eggs have been laid at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. One was laid about a month ago and the other produced a chick, named Moloko, nearly a year ago.
Coincidentally, the last known free-flying bird was captured on Easter Day, 1987, in the government’s controversial plan to save the huge birds, which are part of the vulture family, from extinction.