A First at the Zoo de Granby: The Extraordinary Hatching of an Andean Condor Egg!

A First at the Zoo de Granby:
The Extraordinary Hatching of an Andean Condor Egg!

After many years of unsuccessful reproduction attempts for our Andean condors, the year 2018 will be a memorable one with the hatching, a few days ago, of the first chick! Both the Andean condors arrived at the Zoo de Granby in 2010, but they have been a couple since 2002, at the San Diego Zoo-Safari Park. Although the male was 18 years of age and female 29, this is their first offspring. These birds reach sexual maturity at the age of 7 and can reproduce up to the age of 50, which means the future is quite promising.

A camera was installed in the nesting area and allows our animal care technicians to always have an eye on the family without disturbing them. Also, thanks to this camera we were able to see the small comb on the chick’s head, confirming it’s a male! The team is extremely proud!

Parenting Technique

The Andean condors produce only one egg every 2 years, and since they don’t build a nest, most often the egg is hatched on the side of a cliff. Because of the precariousness of its position, both the male and the female actively participate in its incubation, thus rarely leaving the egg unprotected. At the Zoo de Granby, we offer them a box with a sand-filled bottom along with a shelter. Following the Species Survival Plan’s recommendations, all the proper measures were put in place to encourage their reproduction. Both parents, each in turn, brooded the egg from the moment it was hatched; their interest never faded! If everything goes well, the baby will remain with its parents for almost 2 years.

Facing Extinction

The Andean condor is found all along the west coast of South America and is in danger of extinction in its natural habitat. The population is decreasing, among other reasons, because the prey they ingest is intoxicated with pesticides and because of the loss of their habitat. The specialists who establish reproduction recommendations by identifying candidates according to their genetics, were able to identify 21 couples that are in reproduction mode. Of these 21 couples, only 3 were successful in producing a chick, including the female of the Zoo de Granby. Reproduction and reintroduction programs within a natural environment haven’t been able to reverse the species’ decline in numbers; extra efforts will therefore be needed to reach the desired demographics.

A Strapping Creature!

This scavenger can reach 15 kilos and has a wingspan of over 3 metres, which makes it the world’s largest bird of prey!

About the Zoo de Granby

The Zoo de Granby is a non-profit organization, founded in 1953. Its mission is to offer an enriching, entertaining and educational experience aimed at creating animal conservation awareness for a diverse clientele of all ages. During its peak tourist season, it employs over 700 people. The direct and indirect economic fallout for the Zoo de Granby is evaluated at $50M annually, an increase of more than 75% since 2004.