A young California Condor that hatched this past August thanks to the heroic efforts of staff members at the L.A. Zoo is in need of a name.
The zoo has launched a crowd-sourced naming campaign to raise critical funds for the California Condor Recovery Program (CCRP) that has helped to reestablish a sustainable population of California Condors in the wild.
The bird is the offspring of adult condors Sequoia and Squapuni. They cared for a dummy egg while staff provided critical care to the real egg. Here’s what happened, as described by an article at WeLikeLA.com:
“The chick known as LA1720 had some complications coming into the world. Typically, a chick would break the membrane and into the air cell of the egg with its beak, thus taking its first breath. This is known as ‘pipping.’ This chick was unable to do because it was malpositioned in its egg. It was upside down and its head was under the wrong wing. The Condor team conducted a manual pip, which is risky because it could introduce bacteria. The team had to administer antibiotics after making the hole in the egg.
“Finally, with the overnight help of a condor keeper identified as Debbie, the hours-long hatching process was a success.”
Once LA1720 was hatched and thriving, staff delicately positioned it within a shell and replaced the dummy egg in the nest box. The adults accepted LA1720 and have been caring for it, although it was brought back into human care for a while because keepers watching on monitors could see that it was having trouble breathing. That issue has since been resolved, and now the zoo is seeking help with a name.
Donors can support the zoo’s efforts as part of the CCRP, including breeding, preparing condors for release into the wild, providing medical treatment for sick and injured birds, performing monitoring and interventions in the field, and training and mentoring staff from partner agencies and institutions.
You can participate in the CCRP’s first-ever condor naming campaign and, with a donation of any amount, can select from four names. The campaign began on December 9 and will run until reaching the goal of raising $25,000 or January 7, 2021, whichever comes first. Each donor will be recognized on the L.A. Zoo’s website with additional benefits to those who meet donor levels.
All net proceeds — regardless of the name to which donations are associated — benefit the CCRP and are tax deductible. For more information on LA1720’s inspiring and often harrowing story, which has captivated thousands of social media fans since August, as well as the four names, and how to participate, please visit www.lazoo.org/condorLA1720.
Four possible names
Four names have been selected by the members of the zoo’s condor keeper team, known to chick LA1720’s social media fans as “the Navy SEALS of the Zoo” for their skill, grit, and determination. All names have deep personal resonance for the keepers and connections to efforts to save this iconic species.
Cali (short for California)
Condor keeper Chandra David always dreamed of a life working with wild animals and that dream was realized through her conservation mission to save one of the world’s most endangered animals in her own backyard. “California is so rich in biodiversity…I can think of no better name than ‘California’ – a name that reminds us what this conservation program is all about,” says David.
The late Dr. Michael P. Wallace was the L.A. Zoo curator of birds (1987–1998) and curator of conservation, the California Condor Recovery Team lead for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the program coordinator for the California Condor Species Survival Plan. He guided the capture, release, and breeding programs for the California Condor at the L.A. Zoo and, later, San Diego Zoo Global. For many California Condor conservationists — including the Zoo’s Mike Clark — he was a life-changing mentor. “Michael Wallace was more of a mentor to me than anyone,” says Clark.
Debbie Sears is a storyteller. In the 24 years that she has worked with California Condors, she has given countless tours and presentations about these birds, telling their story. And after each one, people tell her that they finally see how amazing these once-mysterious birds are and understand how much they need our help. “’Timoloqin’ means ‘to tell a story’ in the Chumash language, and it is perfect because so many people were drawn in by LA1720’s story and learned about condors and the program,” says Sears.
The most recent addition to the California Condor team, Jon Guenther, selected a name that honors the First Nation working to reintroduce condors to their ancestral lands in the Pacific Northwest. “Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed establishing a collaboratively managed condor release facility in Redwood National Park,” Guenther explains. “Bringing the condor — a sacred bird — back to this region near Redwood National and State Parks will be the first time in a century that prey-go-neesh (the Yurok name for the condor) would soar there. So, in honor of the First Nation who initiated the return of California condors to this part of their historic range, we should name this chick ‘Yurok,’” states Guenther.