A condor chick’s recent first flight was just 150 feet, but it set a record of sorts in the government’s effort to restore the dying species, federal officials said Thursday.
In its brief Nov. 4 flight at the rugged Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County, the young bird became the first wild-born chick to fly in California since 1982.
Seven months old, the bird will be raised by its parents for about another year before going off on its own, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The bird is one of 111 condors living in the wild in California, Arizona and the Baja Peninsula.
Most were born in the Los Angeles and San Diego zoos and transferred to refuges.
The condor population plunged to a record low in 1982, when only 22 birds remained.
Many had died because of loss of habitat, lead poisoning, ingesting of poisons used to control predators and other causes.