Previous four birds have relocated to other zoos, two of which will move into breeding program
By NICK MASUDA
DIRECTOR OF NEWS
She goes by the number 727, but don’t let the seemingly sterile way of being identified fool you.
She’s got personality for days — more inquisitive about you than you could ever be of her.
No. 727 is one of the three new California Condors that were introduced at the Santa Barbara Zoo earlier this week — replacing four recently departed condors that had been in Santa Barbara since 2017.
In addition to No. 727, Nos. 860 and 946, a brother-sister tandem, will now call the South Coast home until the age of 6-8, when they will be moved elsewhere due to the high value of their reproductive genes.
No. 727 was released back into the wild in the Grand Canyon but proved to be unfit to survive on her own. She was recaptured and now will mentor Nos. 860 and 946.
The California Condors are identified by numbers, with the lower the number usually equating to an older bird.
The Santa Barbara Zoo has been an active participant in the conservation efforts surrounding the California Condor, playing a key role in aiding a species that was down to just 22 birds remaining in 1982. There are now more than 500 California Condors in existence, with more than half flying free.
Over the past decade, the zoo has hosted 14 different California Condors — which are the largest birds in North America, with wingspans reaching nearly 10 feet.
“The Santa Barbara Zoo has been an active collaborator with the California Condor Recovery Program since 2002, providing veterinary, logistical, and other support for condor reintroduction efforts,” said Rachel Ritchason, the zoo’s director of animal collections. “We are really proud to be part of the success story of this species’ return to the wild.”
The four California Condors that moved out of the zoo over the past month have been relocated to other zoos, with Nos. 327 and 524 making their way down Highway 101 to the Los Angeles Zoo, while Nos. 174 and 603 went to the Oregon Zoo, where they will join the breeding program.
“It’s always hard to see animals you’ve cared for over the years leave the zoo, but it’s also exciting to see the progress they’ve made and that they’re ready for their next step,” Ms. Ritchason said. “We’re happy to know these birds will continue to thrive and contribute to the recovery of their species.”