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It’s been decades since California condors were spotted gliding in the Northwest, but officials said that could soon change.
The endangered bird will return to the redwoods for the first time in 100 years thanks to a new release facility, the National Park Service said Tuesday. Several government agencies and the Yurok Tribe are working together to reintroduce the condors to the Yurok Ancestral Territory and Redwood National Park along the northwest coast of California.
Under the project, the condors will be designated as a “nonessential, experimental population under the Endangered Species Act,” which will help reintroduce the population, officials said.
“The California condor is a shining example of how a species can be brought back from the brink of extinction through the power of partnerships,” Paul Souza, regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s California-Great Basin Region, said in a news release. “Together, we can help recover and conserve this magnificent species for future generations.”
The condors are expected to be released in the fall of 2021 or the spring of 2022, according to the National Park Service.
California condors are some of the largest soaring birds in North America with a wingspan of nearly 10 feet, according to the National Park Service. There are more than 300 California condors in California, Arizona, Utah and Baja California.
“These massive vultures are essential members of their ecosystems and play a significant role in the spiritual and cultural beliefs of the Yurok Tribe, as well as many other Tribes, throughout northern California and the Pacific Northwest,” officials said. “Over the past twelve years, the Yurok Tribe has led this reintroduction effort and completed a tremendous amount of legwork to prepare for the return of condors to the Pacific Northwest.”