Condor and plover conservationists from the Santa Barbara Zoo
In Region 8, which covers California and Nevada, the Service awarded a team of nine from the Santa Barbara Zoo: Erin Arnold, David Meyer, Julie Barnes, Rachel Ritchason, Rich Block, Estelle Sandhaus, Carol Hunsperger, Nadya Seal Faith, and Aaron Marshall.
“The Santa Barbara Zoo has been instrumental in the recovery of endangered, threatened, and at-risk species along California’s central coast. More than 40 years of partnership has lifted the endangered California Condor back from the brink of extinction,” the agency says. “Zoo staff monitored nests, provided veterinary support, installed and operated nest camera technology, and engaged the public to build support for the species’ recovery.
“Through a successful captive breeding and reintroduction program, the zoo has also helped island fox populations on San Miguel, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz islands rebound to self-sustaining levels, and ultimately these three subspecies were removed from the endangered species list in 2016—marking the fastest recovery of any mammal under the Endangered Species Act. Additionally, zoo staff have recently taken the lead in the rearing, rehabilitation, color banding, and releasing of abandoned and rescued Western Snowy Plover eggs and chicks, contributing to the recovery of this tiny, yet resilient shorebird.”