Wildlife & Wild Places

California Condor Chick on Webcam

California condors Sisquoc and Shatash welcomed a baby chick this week, in full view of the world watching them via webcam.

“With just over 400 California condors in existence, this endangered species is still an uncommon sight, making this hatching all the more significant,” San Diego Zoo Safari Park said in a news statement about the happy event. For only the second time, the zoo has given the public the opportunity to watch condor parents in action via its Condor Cam.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Sisquoc and Shatash’s chick and be able to share this incredible experience with everyone,” said Michael Mace, San Diego Zoo Safari Park curator of birds. “This rare experience of watching a condor chick is no longer for a select few. We invite you to watch this fantastic experience, the beginning cycle of a California condor’s life, from the egg until it fledges.”

The largest flying bird in North America, the California condor can glide on air currents as high as 15,000 feet. They feed on the carcasses of large mammals, such as cattle and deer. The loss of the great herds that once roamed North America may have contributed to their decline. Poisoning and illegal egg collection pushed them to the edge of extinction in the 1970s when their number fell to about two dozen.

Since a recovery program implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, zoos in the U.S. and Mexico, and U.S. and Mexican government agencies began in the 1980s, there are now more than 400 condors, half of which are flying free in California, Arizona and Baja California, Mexico, according to San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The zoo has hatched 171 chicks and released more than 80 birds in the wild.

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media.

Assignments in 80 countries/territories included visits to a secret rebel base in Angola, Sahrawi camps in Algeria, and Wayana villages in the remote Amazon. Braun traveled with Nelson Mandela on the liberation leader’s Freedom Tour of North America, accompanied President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton to their foundation’s projects in four African countries and Mexico, covered African peace talks chaired by Fidel Castro in Havana and Boutros Boutros-Ghali in Cairo, and collaborated with Angelina Jolie at World Refugee Day events in Washington, D.C. As a member of the National Geographic Expeditions Council, and media representative to the Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration, he joined researchers on field inspections in many parts of the world.

Braun has been a longtime member/executive of journalist guilds, press clubs, and professional groups, including the National Press Club (Washington) and editorial committee of the Online Publishers Association. He served as WMA Magazine of the Year Awards judge (2010-2012), advisory board member of Children’s Eyes On Earth International Youth Photography Contest (2012), and multimedia/communications affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers (2015-2017).

David Braun edits National Geographic Voices, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society’s mission and initiatives. Contributors include grantees and Society partners, as well as universities, foundations, interest groups, and individuals dedicated to a sustainable world.

He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience.

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Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

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Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

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