Once teetering on the brink of extinction, California condors have made a remarkable comeback — due in large part to conservation efforts aimed at saving these iconic birds.
Today, California condors number in the hundreds, up from just over two dozen in the late 1980s. But threats to this critically endangered species still remain.
Thankfully, hope remains as well.
In recent months, wildlife officials have been sounding the alarm over a deadly contagium spreading among condor populations — highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
Among the first casualties of HPAI was a female condor in Arizona from a flock monitored by The Peregrine Fund. Though she, sadly, could not be saved, conservationists were able to recover the egg she’d been incubating.
Under the watchful care of Liberty Wildlife, the egg was held for safekeeping.
Earlier this month, at long last, a precious baby condor hatched from the egg — entering a world, regrettably, without the comfort of her mom.
But the feathered new arrival wasn’t alone for long.
To ease the hardship of being without a mother, the baby condor was presented with a special gift — a plush condor doll with which to snuggle.
It appeared to bring her some much-needed peacea
With the help of that stuffed animal — and the dedication of her caretakers — the condor baby was able to navigate the precarious early days as an orphan.
Now, she’s joined a new family, with foster parents just like her.