California condor that helped save species returns to wild

Dec 31, 2015 5:50 PM by News Staff

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A California condor whose captive breeding helped save the species is gliding in the skies over Central California again.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists released a 35-year-old condor known as AC-4 back earlier this week in Kern County. Wildlife Service biologist Joseph Brandt says AC-4 was one of only 23 left alive in the 1980s, when biologists captured all remaining wild condors to try to bring the species back from near-extinction.

AC-4 fathered the first condor chick born in captivity, and went on to sire 29 more chicks for reintroduction to the wild. Today there are more than 400 of the endangered California condors, more than 200 of them in the wild. California is phasing in a ban of lead bullets by hunters, one factor in the species' troubles.

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