California Condor Speaker Series at Oakland Zoo

oakland-zoo-condorOn Wednesday, June 3, 2015, from 6:30pm – 9:30pm, Oakland Zoo welcomes the public to attend a Conservation Speaker Series about California condors – a bird that nearly became extinct in the 1980s, when the last living wild condor was taken into captivity and put into a breeding program to save the species. Today, there are more than 200 California condors living in the wild, with a large population near the Big Sur coastline.

Guest Speaker Kelly Sorenson, Executive Director of Ventana Wildlife Society, has been working to save these birds, with a nine and a half foot wingspan, since 1995. “Over the last twenty years, we’ve discovered condors are resilient, but we also learned about their greatest threats,” said Kelly Sorenson. Through field work, constant monitoring, nest watching, pair tracking, lead testing, and releasing condors back into the wild, he and his team have invested their careers into helping save this species.

Sorenson and Dr. Andrea Goodnight, Associate Veterinarian at Oakland Zoo, will provide an update on the current status of the condor and highlight the latest developments in collaborative efforts to preserve this charismatic species. “After two seasons of experience treating birds as part of the California Condor Recovery Program, we have a better understanding of the many challenges involved,” said Dr. Andrea Goodnight. “We will share some of our experiences treating birds at the Steve and Jackie Kane Condor Recovery Facility, and discuss the future for the birds.” The evening will focus on the plight of the California condor and what key factors play a role in the survival of this species.

The Conservation Speaker Series will take place in Oakland Zoo’s Zimmer Auditorium, located at the Lower Entrance of the Zoo. Parking is free and admission for the evening’s speaker presentations is $12.00 – $20.00 per person (sliding scale). All proceeds from this event will be donated to Ventana Wildlife Society.


“The California Condor has captured the imagination of Oakland Zoo and inspired us to take action. We are grateful to Ventana Wildlife Society for allowing us to support their work and commitment to this incredible bird,” said Amy Gotliffe, Conservation Director at Oakland Zoo. “From providing the public with condor cams to condor camps for teens to healing sick birds and assisting in the field, we are thrilled to be working in partnership to save this native species. We are looking forward to sharing this passion with our community on June 3rd.”

For additional information about Oakland Zoo’s Conservation Speaker Series, please contact Amy Gotliffe, Conservation Director,

In 1987, the last wild California condor was taken into captivity to join the twenty-six remaining condors, in an attempt to bolster the population through a captive breeding program. Through the efforts of the California Condor Recovery Program, there are now about 232 California condors in the wild. For more than twenty years, Ventana Wildlife Society has made it a mission to save the bird from extinction by regularly trapping and treating condors suffering from lead poisoning. Prompt treatment has saved the lives of many condors. Nests are monitored to ensure the greatest protection possible from potential threats to productivity. In 2013, Jerry Brown, Governor of California signed into law a phase out of lead ammunition throughout the state for all hunting. Lead from spent ammunition is the most significant problem for California condors and this new law gives hope for condor survival in the future; however, the new law, AB711, does not go into effect until 2019.

Being actively involved in a conservation partnership with Ventana Wildlife Society is very important to Oakland Zoo. To learn more about this partnership go to

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