The first California condors to enter the wild in 5 years took a few hesitant hops on a sandstone cliff, craned pinkish necks over the precipice and tentatively tested their nine-foot-plus wings. Since that land mark launch in 1992, wildlife biologists have released nearly 200 condors that were born and raised in captivity, and they have prospered! The world population has rebounded from 22 in 1987 to 396 birds, with wild populations concentrated in  Baja California, Arizona, and southern and central California. As these giant scavengers move to reoccupy their full 7 million square mile range, scientists are using state of the art technology to guide the Pleistocene period survivors toward full self sustainability. They are counting on this and other unusual inventions, such as swapping infertile for fertile eggs, to ensure their full recovery. 
Jesse Grantham, coordinator of the US fish and wildlife service’s condor recovery programme can track every 17 pound and over bird using radio transmitters and solar powered GPS. These send 1000 locator points per day, if a bird stays in one place for too long it usually means they are in trouble. A rescue team is scrambled to trek through remote canyons go and help the condor. The traking also allows scientists to determine where important breeding caves are and ensure they are protected.
The main threat to Condors remains the same as it did 25 years ago, lead bullet fragments that lodge in the bodies of carrion. Some nine out of 10 condors have elevated lead levels, a problem that persists despite a ban on the use of lead bullets within the condor habitat in California. Bottle caps, DDT, high voltage power lines and the occasional shooting also contribute, which means the environment still presents “all the mortality factors that nearly caused their extinction.
With the telemetry records, scientists and conservationists are working to remove what dangers they can from the birds range. If only something could be done about the lead. 

The first California condors to enter the wild in 5 years took a few hesitant hops on a sandstone cliff, craned pinkish necks over the precipice and tentatively tested their nine-foot-plus wings. Since that land mark launch in 1992, wildlife biologists have released nearly 200 condors that were born and raised in captivity, and they have prospered! The world population has rebounded from 22 in 1987 to 396 birds, with wild populations concentrated in  Baja California, Arizona, and southern and central California. As these giant scavengers move to reoccupy their full 7 million square mile range, scientists are using state of the art technology to guide the Pleistocene period survivors toward full self sustainability. They are counting on this and other unusual inventions, such as swapping infertile for fertile eggs, to ensure their full recovery. 

Jesse Grantham, coordinator of the US fish and wildlife service’s condor recovery programme can track every 17 pound and over bird using radio transmitters and solar powered GPS. These send 1000 locator points per day, if a bird stays in one place for too long it usually means they are in trouble. A rescue team is scrambled to trek through remote canyons go and help the condor. The traking also allows scientists to determine where important breeding caves are and ensure they are protected.

The main threat to Condors remains the same as it did 25 years ago, lead bullet fragments that lodge in the bodies of carrion. Some nine out of 10 condors have elevated lead levels, a problem that persists despite a ban on the use of lead bullets within the condor habitat in California. Bottle caps, DDT, high voltage power lines and the occasional shooting also contribute, which means the environment still presents “all the mortality factors that nearly caused their extinction.

With the telemetry records, scientists and conservationists are working to remove what dangers they can from the birds range. If only something could be done about the lead. 

Blue Iguana back from the brink
The blue iguana (Cyclura lewisi) was once king of the Caribbean Island, Grand Cayman. Weighting in at 25 pounds, measuring over 5 feet, and living for over sixty years, nothing could touch this regal lizard. But then the unthinkable happened: cars, cats, and dogs, along with habitat destruction, dethroned Grand Cayman’s reptilian overlord. The lizard went from an abundant population that roamed the island freely to practically assured extinction. In 2002, researchers estimated that two dozen—at best—survived in the wild. Despite the bleak number, conservationists started a last ditch effort to save the species. With help from local and international NGOs, the effort, dubbed the Blue Iguana Recovery Program, has achieved a rarity in conservation. Within nine years it has raised the population of blue iguanas by twenty times: today 500 wild blue iguanas roam Salina Reserve. Find out how they did it.

Blue Iguana back from the brink

The blue iguana (Cyclura lewisi) was once king of the Caribbean Island, Grand Cayman. Weighting in at 25 pounds, measuring over 5 feet, and living for over sixty years, nothing could touch this regal lizard. But then the unthinkable happened: cars, cats, and dogs, along with habitat destruction, dethroned Grand Cayman’s reptilian overlord. The lizard went from an abundant population that roamed the island freely to practically assured extinction. In 2002, researchers estimated that two dozen—at best—survived in the wild. Despite the bleak number, conservationists started a last ditch effort to save the species. With help from local and international NGOs, the effort, dubbed the Blue Iguana Recovery Program, has achieved a rarity in conservation. Within nine years it has raised the population of blue iguanas by twenty times: today 500 wild blue iguanas roam Salina Reserve. 

Find out how they did it.