A rare California condor chick has hatched on a rocky cliff in Baja California, according to the San Diego Zoo.
It's only the second time a condor chick has hatched in Mexico since the zoo reintroduced the critically endangered species to the area in 2002. The other hatched in 2007, but disappeared a month later.
“Our efforts to save this species are long and often arduous,” San Diego Zoo spokesperson Mike Wallace, Ph.D. said. “Still, nothing is more rewarding than the arrival of a chick from reintroduced birds breeding in the wild.
Zoo officials say the latest chick has been immunized against West Nile virus, after biologists rappelled 330 feet down the cliff to get to its nest. The condor is in Baja's Sierra San Pedro de Martir National Park, and officials say it is about 45 days old.
Condor chicks in the wild have a 50 percent survival rate.
“The 45-day-old chick is the most successful effort by our growing population in Baja California so far,” Wallace said.
The birds are being reintroduced by the California Condor Recovery Program, an organization comprising zoos and government agencies from the U.S. and Mexico.
Nearly extinct in 1982 when repopulation programs began, there were no known condors were left in the wild and only 22 survived in captivity.
Through the efforts of land, wildlife and Native American culture conservationists, the wild population has grown to 320 throughout their native ranges in California, Arizona, Utah and Baja California.