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Releasing Captive-Reared Andean Condors to the Wild

Michael P. Wallace and Stanley A. Temple
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 51, No. 3 (Jul., 1987), pp. 541-550
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3801266
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3801266
Page Count: 10
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Releasing Captive-Reared Andean Condors to the Wild
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Abstract

To develop techniques for future releases of captive-reared California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) to the wild, we used captive-reared Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) as surrogates. Hatched at facilities in the United States, 11 young Andean condors were transported to an isolated study site on the coast of northern Peru and released under experimental conditions. Six of these condors were raised by their parents then held with other juveniles in large aviaries before being shipped to Peru. They were between 1 and 3 years old when released. The other 5 condors were hand reared with the aid of puppets that closely resembled adult condors. They were released at the age when natural fledging occurred. Over periods of 170-260 days we taught these released birds how to forage by placing carcasses at progressively greater distances from the release site until the birds' foraging area was large enough that they encountered natural carcasses more frequently than those we offered. At this point they rapidly became independent of our care. The 6 birds released at an older age integrated with the wild population more rapidly than did the 5 birds released at fledging age; however, we had better control over the behavior and movements of the fledgingage birds. Seven of the 11 birds successfully reached independence and survived ≥18 months after their release.

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