LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST, CA The last of three California condors that were first to hatch in the wild in nearly two decades has died, officials said.
The chick, which was about 5 months old, was found Tuesday in a remote sandstone cave.
The birds were the offspring of adults raised in captivity and later released. The first chick died three weeks ago and the second was found dead last week by a biologist monitoring a cave.
|Bottle caps, glass shards, electrical fixtures, screws and washers were found in one bird's stomach.
"It's an emotional loss and more of a step backward than we wanted," said Bruce Palmer, coordinator of the California Condor Recovery Program for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The hatchings were considered a milestone in the condor breeding program, which boosted the endangered bird's numbers from 15 to almost 200 over the past two decades. It had been 18 years since a condor was born in the wild.
It was not yet clear what killed the first bird or the last. A necropsy on the second chick turned up 12 bottle caps, shards of glass, electrical fixtures, screws and washers in the bird's stomach.