California Condor: Soaring Again in the Western Skies

Jun 4, 2015 (Last modified Jun 17, 2015)
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The Story of the California Condor

The California condor is returning from the edge of extinction to once again soaring the skies over southern California.

This is its story...

The California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), with a wingspan of 9.5 feet and weighing up to 25 pounds, is the largest land bird in North America. These majestic creatures historically ranged from California to Florida and Western Canada to Northern Mexico. By the mid-20th century, condor populations had dropped dramatically, and by 1967 the California condor was listed as "endangered" by the federal government. In 1982, only 23 condors survived world-wide.

By 1987, all remaining wild condors were placed into a captive breeding program. Thus began an intensive recovery program to save the California condor from extinction.

Since 1992, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) began reintroducing captive-bred condors to the wild, the USFWS and its public and private partners have grown the population to 410 birds.

In 2008, the Recovery Program reached an important milestone, with more California condors flying free in the wild than in captivity for the first time since the program began.

The Project:

The Condor Recovery Program and the Pacific Southwest Region Office of External Affairs was looking for ways in which to tell the success story of condor recovery.

Using the DataBasin Web Gateway and ESRI's Story Map Journal application, we were able to merge mapping services, narrative story telling, still photo and video imagery and social media channels into a single package.

The result is a set of maps the reside inside the Pacific Southwest Region Mapping Gateway, which are included and served to the ESRI story map package. All of these items are shown here:

Jon Myatt. 2015. California Condor: Soaring Again in the Western Skies. In: Data Basin. [First published in Data Basin on Jun 4, 2015; Last Modified on Jun 17, 2015; Retrieved on Jul 14, 2024] <>

About the Author

Jon Myatt
Digital Communications Manager with Region8, USFWS

I serve as a public affairs officer and digital communications manager for the Pacific Southwest Region, US Fish and Wildlife Service, based in Sacramento, Calif.