The fate of the California condor appears somewhat brighter today thanks to successful restoration, rehabilitation, and reintroduction efforts undertaken over the past 15 years. Although habitat loss contributed to the near extinction of the world’s largest flying bird, wildlife biologists believe that enough habitat remains in the condor’s historic range to sustain a healthy population. That range includes the region just south of the Bay Area, from the Ventana Wilderness along the coast south of Monterey to the Gabilan Range east of the Salinas Valley. The Ventana Wilderness Society (VWS), working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Peregrine Fund, has an active condor release program in this area. Seven condors raised in captivity were released in the Ventana Wilderness this past December, and plans are in the works for a release at Pinnacles National Monument in the Gabilan Range sometime in 2003. The Pinnacles’ topography, particularly its caves, offers perfect condor nesting sites. If you’re interested in learning more about the condor or seeing condors on the Web through “Condor Cam,” visit www.ventanaws.org, or call Sheila Foster at (831) 455-9514. If you’d like to learn about the area where the release will be taking place, sign up for Merritt College’s class in February and March on the natural history of the Pinnacles. The class includes evening lectures at the Oakland campus followed by several days in the field. Contact Ron Felzer for more information at (510) 436-2618 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bay Nature magazine ◦ January-March 2003