Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — On Wednesday, April 30, 2014, from 6:30pm – 9:30pm, Oakland Zoo welcomes the public to attend a Conservation Speaker Series focused on California condors – a bird that nearly became extinct in the 1987, when the last living wild condor was taken into captivity and put into a breeding program to save the species. Today, there are more than 200 California condors living in the wild.
Guest Speaker Joe Burnett, Senior Biologist, at Ventana Wildlife Society, has been working in the field with the magnificent birds since 1996. "We have learned so many new and exciting things about condors during the restoration process, this presentation will be a great opportunity to share what we've discovered and discuss the threats these animals still face today,” said Joe Burnett Senior Wildlife Biologist, Ventana Wildlife Society. In the Big Sur, California, he has invested countless hours into helping save the species by tracking them, testing for lead poisoning, releasing them into the wild, and protecting their precious eggs.
Burnett and Dr. Andrea Goodnight, Associate Veterinarian at Oakland Zoo, will discuss the plight of the condor and highlight how organizations like U.S.Fish & Wildlife, Pinnacles National Park, Ventana Wildlife Society, Oakland Zoo, and other zoos are collaborating to help save a bird with a ten-foot wing span. “Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary staff is excited to be the newest partner in the California Condor Recovery Program and use our medical expertise to provide the highest standard of care to condors,” said Dr. Andrea Goodnight. “We have spent many hours training both at the Los Angeles Zoo and in the field, learning how to safely handle condors and administer medications to these majestic birds. During this talk, we will be sharing our initial experiences, introducing the Steve and Jackie Kane Condor Recovery Facility at Oakland Zoo, and explaining the condor treatment process.” The evening will focus on an endangered species that soars on the California coastline of Big Sur and people who have dedicated their careers to help save a bird with striking red eyes, an ability to soar for miles at a time, and bonds with its mate for life.
The Conservation Speaker Series will take place in Oakland Zoo’s Zimmer Auditorium, located in the lower entrance of the Zoo. Parking is free and the admission price for the evening’s speaker presentations is $12.00 – $20.00 per person (sliding scale). All proceeds from this event will be donated to Ventana Wildlife Society. “Taking action for wildlife is at the heart of Oakland Zoo’s mission and we are honored to be in partnership with Ventana Wildlife Society to conserve the California condor,” said Amy Gotliffe, Conservation Director at Oakland Zoo. “From providing the public with condor cams to condor camps for teens to healing sick birds, we are fully committed to this iconic native species. We are looking forward to sharing this passion with our community on April 30th.”
For additional information about Oakland Zoo’s Conservation Speaker Series, please contact Amy Gotliffe, Conservation Director, at amy(at)oaklandzoo(dot)org.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA CONDOR: In 1987, the last wild California condor was taken into captivity to join the twenty-six remaining condors, in an attempt to bolster the population through a captive breeding program. Through the effort of California zoos and the Ventana Wildlife Society there are now about 232 California condors in the wild. For more than twenty years, Ventana Wildlife Society has made it a mission to save the bird from extinction by regularly trapping and treating condors suffering from high blood levels of lead. Prompt treatment has saved the lives of several birds in the flock. They monitor nests to ensure the greatest protection possible from potential threats to productivity. In 2013, Jerry Brown, Governor of California signed into law a phase out of lead ammunition throughout the state for all hunting. Lead from spent ammunition is the most significant problem for California condors and this new law gives hope for condor survival in the future; however, the new law, AB711, does not go into effect until 2019.
Being actively involved in a conservation partnership with Ventana Wildlife Society is very important to Oakland Zoo. To learn more about this partnership go to http://youtu.be/7Bhm3k_OINA.
ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO: The Bay Area’s award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid’s activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information please visit our website at http://www.oaklandzoo.org.
ABOUT VENTANA WILDLIFE SOCIETY: Founded in 1977, Ventana Wildlife Society led the way to successful reintroduction of the Bald Eagle and the California Condor, two of the most iconic birds in the world, to native habitats in central California. Through the course of their work, they developed an organizational culture that strongly values science, education and collaboration and regularly found ways for both wildlife and people to benefit from one another. VWS recovers individual species and tracks the populations of many others so that conservation can be timely as well as effective. Focusing on youth education, we better ensure that future generations have the willingness and capacity to help wildlife. Our vision is to have a society who cares for and supports wildlife across the planet, particularly in California. http://www.ventanaws.org.
Amy Gotliffe, Director, Conservation