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Santa Barbara Zoo welcomes 3 new California condors

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Posted at 4:03 PM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 19:03:29-05

The Santa Barbara Zoo welcomed three new California condor vultures this week, bringing the total number of condors cared for at the zoo to 14.

Condors are a critically endangered species, and the Santa Barbara Zoo is one of a handful of zoos to exhibit these birds.

Condors are the largest land birds in North America, with wingspans up to nine and a half feet.

The Santa Barbara Zoo's condors are a part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service California Condor Recovery Program.

Two of the new, younger condors will stay with the zoo until they're 6 to 8-years-old. The third, older condor was released at the Grand Canyon, but zoo officials say she didn't thrive, so she was recaptured to be a mentor for the two younger condors.

As part of the recovery program, the zoo recently let go of four condors who they had been caring for since 2017. Two of them went to the Los Angeles Zoo and the other two went to the Oregon Zoo for a breeding program.

“It’s always hard to see animals you’ve cared for over the years leave the Zoo, but it’s also exciting to see the progress they’ve made and that they’re ready for their next step,” said Director of Animal Collections Rachel Ritchason.