A condor chick was born at the new breeding program at the San Diego Zoo. California condors are listed on critically endangered list. The zoo is using the breeding program as a part of ongoing efforts to help saved the endangered species.
The baby condor, named Wesa, has already developed an extremely voracious appetite. The chick is reportedly consuming up to 15 mice in a single day. Just like the San Diego Zoo chicks which came before her, Wesa will one day be released to live in the wild. The 2-week old chick is the first condor hatched this season.
Wesa was born on February 24, but the San Diego Zoo did not announce the arrival of their feathered bundle of joy until this week. Ron Webb, the zoo’s head condor keeper, used an extremely real-looking condor momma glove to care for Wesa.
The senior zoo staffer wears the fancy glove puppet to reduce the condor chick’s human contact. Webb and the others who help care for Wesa do not want her associating food or any other type of beneficial experience with humans.
The San Diego Zoo condor breeding program strives to mimic the natural growing process as much as possible. The less the chicks are exposed to humans, the greater their chances of survival upon release into the wild.
Zookeepers use the candling technique to catch a glimpse inside the condor eggs. The non-invasive technique has used with bird and reptile eggs for centuries. Webb does not use an actual candle but a warm bright, warm light. Checking on how the condor chicks are developing allows zoo staff to predict when they will hatch.
The zoo began its breeding program during the 1980s. At that time, only 22 wild condors still existed. Over the past several decades, the San Diego zoo has released 80 birds back to nature and hatched 173 chicks. Today, there are approximately 400 wild condors roaming the skies.
[Featured Image Via: Shutterstock.com]