Pinnacles Partnership is participating in Silicon Valley Gives on May 3. You can support our organization and enable us to help the Pinnacles Condor Program realize their goal of outfitting half of the Pinnacles free flying flock with GPS tags this year.
After suffering dramatic declines in the wild to just 22 individuals, critically endangered California condors were successfully reared in zoos and their reintroduction back in to the wild began in the mid-1990s. Since 2001, condors have also nested in the wild, a fact that conservationists worldwide are excited about. Successful reproduction in the wild is a crucial step to achieving true conservation success for this iconic species. Unfortunately, the number of nests that successfully fledge young condor chicks has been very low. Nests fail for unknown reasons, but the loss of eggs or chicks could be due to predation, lead poisoning, trash in the nest, or other factors.
Without intensive daily nest monitoring–which requires locating and then viewing into nests that are in sheer rock faces–it is impossible to conduct observations needed to learn why nests fail and what we can do to help.
Fortunately, technology now exists to 1) locate nests and 2) observe them using remote video cameras. The first step in locating nests is tagging adult condors with GPS wing tags. Innovative GPS technology now exists so biologists can place small GPS tags on a condor’s wing. The GPS tag uses cell phone technology to send an email to biologists and the nest can be found through the adult condors’ movements. Once located, biologists rock climb to the nest and place a remote video camera that streams the images to a computer, allowing for constant monitoring for threats to the condor’s egg and chick.
Through these technologies, we can collect information critical to understanding nest success and failure, such as: egg laying, hatching, feeding, and any threats, such as predators. Nest cameras will allow biologists to conclusively determine the causes of nest failure and how to improve nesting success, as well as detect illness or potential threats prior to nest failure, when intervention could help a chick survive.
This project will make a real significant difference for California condors raising their young in the wild. We invite you to join in this online day of giving by clicking here to make your donation now. You can find out more about the Pinnacles Condor Program here