Andean Condor, Lurch, sunning in the National Aviary’s Condor Court.
Four massive Andean Condors have a new home at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh. This special aviary is designed to provide an excellent habitat for breeding and give visitors a unique and intimate view of this endangered species.
Lurch, Precious, Handsome and Lianni, the Andean Condors, are enjoying the exhibit? features, which mimic this species?native habitat in the Andes Mountains. Condor Court has 20-foot high rock fa?e, nesting caves, bathing pools, up-close viewing areas and a conservation station similar to field research stations used by National Aviary researchers in the Andes Mountains. A heated holding building has also been built to aid in managing the condors and to provide access to nests without disturbing the birds.
“The National Aviary is now the only accredited zoo in North America exhibiting two pairs of Andean Condors as well as managing them for breeding,?said National Aviary Managing Director Cheryl Tracy. “The decline of these birds in Ecuador has been steady and dramatic, and the National Aviary is proud to be playing a key role in international efforts to protect them. Here in Pittsburgh, Condor Court will provide an excellent setting for breeding, and for educational programming. In Ecuador, we?e funded one of the world? largest Andean Condor exhibits and breeding programs, as well as a veterinary clinic modeled after our own. We are working with our partners in Ecuador to establish a reintroduction program so that chicks hatched at the National Aviary can be released into the wild.?lt;/span>
All this will hopefully benefit Andean Condor populations in the wild. Andean Condor populations in Ecuador have reached critical levels, with less than 50 remaining in the wild. If breeding program is successful, and the Ecuador program continues to develop as planned, chicks from the National Aviary will eventually be relocated to Ecuador and reintroduced to the wild. This is part of a conservation effort between the National Aviary and Bioparque Amaru, a zoo and conservation center in Cuenca, Ecuador.
Lianni, a female Andean Condor and the first female at the National Aviary, hanging out in Condor Court.
Two Andean Condor chicks bred and hatched at the National Aviary in the past were released in Colombia, South America: Kendall, a male, was released in 2005; and Kachina, a female, was released in 2012. The National Aviary has housed Andean Condors since 1985, when its first female, Lianni, arrived.
With a wingspan of 10 feet, Andean Condors are one of the largest raptors in the world. They inhabit high mountains regions from Venezuela to Patagonia. As scavengers and members of the vulture family, they feed on dead animals, playing an important role in removing potentially disease-causing germs and bacteria from the environment. Andean Condors face many threats, including loss of habitat and natural food sources due to human population growth and the conversion of land to agricultural use.
Other birds exhibited in Condor Court include a Bald Eagle, a pair of Pygmy Falcons (one of the world? smallest birds of prey), and two Cabot? Tragopan, a type of pheasant found in southeast China.
For more information, go to the National Aviary website.