In the 1980s, there were only 22 California condors alive in the wild and it was only a matter of time before North America's largest flying land bird was extinct.
Thanks to government protection, the effort of many conservationists and zoos, this endangered species now has a good shot at survival — and all the more reason to admire the beautiful baby bird in the video above. The Oregon Zoo recently announced the hatching of this playful condor chick.
Since 2003, the Oregon Zoo has hatched 71 critically endangered chicks. The zoo has also raised and released 51 California condors into the wild.
It took until 2012 for the number of wild condors to surpass the number in captivity. There are an estimated 440 condors in the wild.
Condors can fly as high as 15,000 feet, and they travel about 150 miles each day to look for carcasses to eat. Like other vultures, they have an important role to play in ecosystems, acting as the cleanup crew.
Their numbers remain threatened due to continued habitat destruction, as well as poisoning from lead bullets (often left behind in carcasses) and pesticides.
Conservationists and zoos in the region will continue their work to strengthen the number of condors in the wild. That is why every new chick born means there's a little more hope for their long-term success.