In “Condor Comeback,” Montgomery reveals how and why a devoted group of individuals labored to spice up the inhabitants of California condors to greater than 450 birds. That they had to determine what was killing the condors within the wild, in addition to learn how to make residing within the wild safer for them.
In contrast to Montgomery’s earlier books, this one begins in a zoo. She and photographer Tianne Strombeck traveled to the Santa Barbara Zoo to get a detailed have a look at these massive, uncommon creatures and the scientists who examine them.
Zoos, says Montgomery, “are the explanation that California condors exist on this planet immediately.” Scientists discovered that condors had been harmed by consuming lead and small items of trash. Regardless of the objections of some conservationists, the remaining condors within the wild had been captured. They might be capable of breed safely in captivity after which be launched and monitored. It has not all gone easily, however the staff has realized from previous errors.
Condors are a species of vulture, which have typically been described as unclean scavengers. Montgomery factors out not solely how clear they’re (“Their breath smells candy, like a recent carrot,” she mentioned), but in addition that they’ve been revered by many cultures all through historical past.
The Egyptian hieroglyphic image for “mom” is a vulture, as an example, as a result of they take nice care of their younger. And in Native American cultures, the California condor has been sacred to many tribes, together with the Southern California Chumash. Though condors are scavengers, Montgomery sees what they do as miraculous: “By consuming carcasses to feed themselves and their younger, they will flip demise into life.”
“Condor Comeback” introduces readers to many people who find themselves serving to condors thrive. We meet Estelle Sandhaus, a conservation scientist who has enabled grownup condors to show youthful ones learn how to stay within the wild. She and her staff monitor the birds, monitoring their actions, and provides them twice-a-year well being checkups within the San Joaquin Valley.
We meet a lab scientist who analyzes lead fragments, blood samples and feathers to know how condors are harmed by human exercise, and we see veterinary care of ailing condors (together with lead poisoning therapy) on the Los Angeles Zoo. After which there are the condor chicks, who’re proven in quite a lot of nest-cam pictures with their mother and father within the stone caves which might be their first houses.
Montgomery’s e book describes the injury to the realm in California from an enormous wildfire that started in late 2018 and burned for 40 days. Sadly, there are new fires raging in California, and one of many essential sanctuaries for condors was just lately destroyed. The Ventana Wildlife Society plans to rebuild a sanctuary and has continued its work on the lookout for lacking condors. The truth is, a number of child chicks had been just lately found amid the devastation and are being cared for in zoos.
You may assist
The entire condors featured in “Condor Comeback” look like secure from the present wildfires, however scientist Estelle Sandhaus needs to encourage the general public to maintain up the help: “Greater than ever, condors want our assist throughout their complete vary — to scale back lead within the surroundings, to scale back microtrash within the surroundings, and at this very second, to supply speedy help to rebuild Ventana Wildlife Society’s condor sanctuary in Large Sur. By working collectively, we are able to create a brighter future for condors all over the place.” Go to the Ventana Wildlife Society web site at ventanaws.org for extra info.