California Condor

(Gymnogyps californicus)


In rocky, open-country scrubland; coniferous forest; deserts; beaches; and oak savannah.


Status: Endangered

As of April 2014, there were 433 condors – 134 of them wild in California.


Current Threats

Lead poisoning from eating lead bullet fragments in carrion, which is the primary food source for condors. Young condors can choke when their parents mistake small pieces of plastic and glass for calcium-rich bones and try to feed them to their young.


Oakland Zoo's Role

• The Steve and Jackie Kane Condor Recovery Center is a facility used to treat sick or injured condors right on our Zoo grounds. Here, the birds receive chelation (key-LAY-shun) therapy to clean their blood of poisonous lead and are released back into the wild.

• We give grants to our partners at Ventana Wildlife Society for monitoring equipment, educate the public about the Condor’s plight, aid with marketing support, and provide veterinary staff trained in handling the birds for medical treatment. Ventana was a Quarters for Conservation grant recipient in 2012, and received vital funding that was supported by Zoo visitors like you.


How Can You Help?

• Help remove lead bullets from the ecosystem by using and promoting non-lead ammunition.

• Contact your government representatives to express your interest in Condor conservation and your disapproval of lead bullets.

• Help remove trash that otherwise pollutes our ecosystems and causes the death of California Condor chicks.

• Protect California’s ecosystems by remembering the 5 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and Refuse.



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