Ever since the advent of the live animal cam, web users everywhere have been taking in the natural world from the comfort of their computers. From cute baby giant panda cams to cute baby penguin cams to cute baby polar bear cams, a new generation of armchair zoologists can’t seem to get enough.
But now a new webcam has been launched that is skipping the cute baby things and presenting a more graphic side of the animal world. The Oakland Zoo and Ventana Wildlife Society have installed the first-ever California condor cam. The solar-powered webcam is giving the public and scientists a glimpse of the endangered birds in the wild.
With a wingspan of up to 10 feet, the majestic California condor is the largest flying bird in North America. And like other vultures, they’re scavengers, feasting on the carcasses of mammals like deer and cattle. Which is exactly what viewers may witness when watching the solar-powered webcam.
Several times each week, biologists are serving up stillborn calves for the birds to devour, entails and all.
"We put the camera right on top of one of the main feeding areas so we could zoom down and get identification of each individual," Kelly Sorenson, executive director of the Ventana Wildlife Society, told the San Jose Mercury News.
California condors were very nearly extinct not that long ago; the last wild California condor was taken into captivity in 1987 to join only 26 remaining birds. But with preservation efforts, there are now an estimated 231 condors in the wild.
Scientists plan to use the camera to monitor the tagged birds and look for medical issues, the society said. The condor area is in a remote part of Big Sur and has been difficult for researchers to get to; the live stream eliminates the journey.
"It's an all-day thing. So this is an amazing tool for us to help monitor condors in the wild," Sorenson said.
And a nice tool for animal lovers needing a break from roly-poly baby giant pandas, as well.
The live stream can be viewed at the Ventana Wildlife Society's website.
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