Saturday, January 10, 2009

Topa, savior of his species

Topa, a California condor, was found injured and taken into captivity in 1967. He didn't see a female of his species until 1982, and when he did, it took him a long time to get the hang of this mating business. Once he figured it out, though, he became one of the linchpins in the salvation of this rare species. Topa, who has lived over 40 years in the Los Angeles Zoo, has sired 21 chicks and is still going strong. Given that his species once hit a low point of 22 birds, all in captivity, the current population of 300+ owes a lot to Topa. Keepers report he has never liked humans and remains a difficult bird to handle, but he is nevertheless a star who may live another three decades.

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