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LA Zoo's California Condors Are Becoming Foster Parents

A California condor chick (Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Zoo)
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California condors at the Los Angeles Zoo are giving back to their own species in one of the most altruistic of ways; by becoming foster parents.

The effort is part of a new breeding technique announced by the zoo on Monday that's meant to increase the numbers of the endangered species.

Of course, the condors are birds, and they are captive, so they don't really have much of a say in their participation. But the new procedure involves experienced condor parents taking more than one chick under their (literal) wing, and raising them until they can fly the coop/leave the nest/spread their wings/etc.

Scientists discovered this breeding technique in 2017, when they first tested it with foster mom (and California condor) Anyapa. After giving her two foster chicks to raise as her own, they were able to release the young duo into the wild. The process was then replicated at the zoo in 2018 and 2019.

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There are currently 500 California condors in the world, according to a statement from the L.A. Zoo, up from just 27 in 1987.