Earlier this year, a group of four endangered condors was officially released into California’s Redwood National and State Parks.
In a statement by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, it was reported that the Yurok Tribe successfully released the first pair of condors out of a group of four. This established the northernmost condor release area to date. It also reclaims a significant part of the bird’s former historic range, which they had been absent from since 1892.
Speaking about the release, Yurok Wildlife Department Director, Tiana Williams-Claussen, shared, “This journey towards restoration began in 2003, when a panel of Yurok elders made the decision that Prey-go-neesh was the highest priority land-based animal to return to Yurok ancestral territory due to the Yurok’s deep cultural connection to the birds.”
Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe, also spoke in the days leading up to the release. “For countless generations, the Yurok people have upheld a sacred responsibility to maintain balance in the natural world. Condor reintroduction is a real-life manifestation of our cultural commitment to restore and protect the planet for future generations. It is a historical moment in the Yurok Tribe, as we introduce our condors back home, providing that balance for us. Our prayers are answered.”
It was further reported that the group of condors included one female and three males. They are between two and four years old. This is considered the ideal age range where they would leave the care of their parents in the wild. “Although it will take several years until these birds are at an age to reproduce in the wild,” U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service explained. “We believe we have a model for success with future northern reintroduction efforts.”
Meet the Four Condors Released into California’s Wild
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service also released information about the four condors that were released into California’s wild.
The first condor is Poy’-we-son (tagged A3), which translates to “the one who goes ahead.” Speaking about the bird, Williams-Claussen stated, “A3 is one of the more dominant birds, and I expect that he’ll be a leader amongst this flock and for new birds coming in.”
The next condor is Nes-kwe-chokw’ (tagged A2). The bird’s name translates to “He returns” or He arrives.” He is described as a representative of the historical “movement” of the condors’ return. “He is a confident bird,” Williams-Claussen explained. “Often jockeying with A3 in play, but also to help establish his place in the hierarchy and with the will to do well in the wild.”
Ney-gem’ ‘Ne-chweenkah (tagged A0) is the female of the released condors. Her name translates to “She carries our prayers.” Williams Claussen said that she represents the “creative life-force energy” that females bring to the world. “It’s powerful. I envision her as the start of a whole new life and possibilities, both for our flock and for condors throughout their range. We also imbue this name with our prayers for her specifically, her cohort brothers and for all condors. She carries those, wherever she goes.”
Finally, Hlow Hoo-let (tagged A1) is the latest bird from the condor release. His name means “At last I (or we) fly!” Williams-Claussen went on to add, “I interpret that as a reference to the joyous day that all four of our first cohort fly free together.”