Over the past couple of weeks I have been receiving e-mails from the Ventana Wildlife Society about the dire situation that several of the California condor nests, that they monitor, are facing due to the wildfire situation in California. The Ventana Wildlife Society has been working hard since 1996 to bring the endangered California condor back from the brink of extinction. Unfortunately the fires that are currently raging in central California have been a major set back.
The society has been monitoring 3 condor nests that have produced chicks this year in the Big Sur area. One of these nests has already been over taken by the fires and it is possible that the chick has perished. At this point there is no way to tell until they can get back into the area, but things do not look good as the area around the nest was intensely burned.
The other two nests, which are located on cliffs along the coast, are still in the potential path of the fire. Ventana considered pulling the chicks out of the nest, on Tuesday, but decided against the rescue plan because poor visibility, due to smoke and fog, made it too dangerous for both the chicks and the rescue crews. So right now they wait and they hope.
If the chicks do not survive the fire it will be a tragedy. The current California condor world population is 315 birds, with 43 living in the Central California, Big Sur area. So if the 3 birds do not make it, that is the loss of almost 1% of the worlds population. If you were to translate that to human terms it would be comparable to the death of approximately 65 million people.
Here is an article from the Mercury News, from Silicon Valley, about the condos. The article is off a bit on the population figures, the ones in this post are ones that were provided by Ventana Wildlife Society so they are accurate, but it does provide a bit more info.