Surveillance cameras help protect endangered condors

Arlington, Va

Flir technology and solutions play a vital role in a variety of conservation applications that support sustaining flora, resolving human / wildlife conflict, promoting community outreach, and aiding anti-poaching efforts. For World Wildlife Day 2021, Flir shared news of ongoing conservation initiatives ranging from black rhino anti-poaching support in Kenya, to protecting wildlife water sources in Zambia, to a case where their equipment is monitoring endangered California condor egg fertilisation in the United States.

In 1982, only 22 California condors, the largest North American land bird, remained in the wild. Contributing factors to the condors’ decline included poaching, habitat destruction, and lead poisoning. By 1987, the remaining wild condors were brought into human care in an attempt to bring the species back from the verge of extinction.

Fast forward to the present: the California Condor Recovery Program—including efforts at the Oregon Zoo’s Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation—has dramatically increased the population to around 500 birds, most of which are flying free. To aid in the recovery, Flir visible security cameras are providing 24/7 observation of the Oregon Zoo condors, which is especially important during breeding season. With the cameras offering a watchful eye around the clock, keepers can monitor condor behaviour from a safe distance so as not to disrupt nature’s work. Minimizing the condors’ exposure to people increases their chances of surviving, and breeding, in the wild.

So far this year, Oregon Zoo condors have laid nine eggs—eight of them in January—which is the fastest start in the zoo’s 18-year effort to help restore the species. Condor breeding programmes also take place at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, the Los Angeles Zoo and the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Idaho.


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