The San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park celebrates the hatching of a California condor. Four condors raised by the Oregon zoo were released Wednesday on Yurok tribal land in the Redwood National Forest. File Photo by Ken Bohn/UPI | License Photo
May 4 (UPI) -- Four California condors took flight over Northern California redwood habitat Tuesday. It was the first time condors have flown over Redwood National Park since 1892.
The four condors were raised by the Oregon Zoo's Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation. They were released in partnership with the Yurok Tribe's Wildlife Department and Redwood Park staff.
"It's thrilling to partner with the Yurok Tribe and Redwood National Park on this release," the zoo's Kelli Walker said in a statement. "Condors haven't been this close to Oregon in more than 100 years."
Tiana Williams-Claussen, director of the Yurok Tribe's Wildlife Department, said in a statement, "In a very real way, restoring condor habitat and returning condor to Yurok skies is a clear restoration of the Yurok people, homeland, ecological systems, culture and lifeway."
Walker said southern Oregon is part of the species' historic range.
The California condor was included in the 1973 Endangered Species Act and is still classified as critically endangered, according to the Oregon Zoo.
Today's California condor population is around 500 birds, most flying free. More than 70 condor chicks have hatched at the zoo's Jonsson Center since 2003.
The Oregon Zoo said in a statement that condor keepers and vet staff at the zoo will be on call to treat potential health issues for the adult condors.
There are condor breeding programs at San Diego's Wild Animal Park, the Los Angeles Zoo and the Peregrine Falcons World Center for Birds of Prey in Idaho.