The release coincides with National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance America’s public lands. National Public Lands Day involves the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies, along with state and local governments and private groups.
• Driving directions: Take Highway 89A from Kanab or Page to the Vermilion Cliffs (from Flagstaff take Highway 89 to Highway 89A). Turn north onto BLM Road 1065 (a dirt road next to the small house just east of the Kaibab Plateau) and continue almost 3 miles.
• Bring: Spotting scope or binoculars, sunscreen, water, snack
• Details: Informational kiosk, shade structure, and restroom at the site.
• Map: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/az/images/vermilion.Par.56471.File.dat/VermilionCliffsMap.pdf
This will be the 18th annual public release of condors in Arizona since the condor recovery program began in 1996. Condors are hatched and reared in captivity at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, and transported to Arizona for release to the wild. Condors also come to the release site from the Oregon Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Since 2003, condors in Arizona have also been successfully laying eggs and fledging chicks in the wild.
As of June 30, there were 71 condors in the wild in the rugged canyonlands of northern Arizona and southern Utah. The world’s total population of endangered California Condors numbers 431, with more than half of them in the wild in Arizona, Utah, California, and Mexico. The wild California Condor population declined to just 22 individuals in the 1980s when the program was begun to save the species from extinction.
The recovery effort is a cooperative program by federal, state, and private partners, including The Peregrine Fund, Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Strip Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management, Grand Canyon and Zion national parks, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and Kaibab and Dixie national forests.