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Scientists: Rare California condor chick hatches in Utah

Published: Wednesday, July 16 2014 12:07 p.m. MDT

A team of biologists has confirmed that a new California condor chick is the first to hatch in the wild in Utah since the species was reintroduced in northern Arizona in 1996. This photo shows the new condor's mother.

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SALT LAKE CITY — A team of biologists has confirmed that a new California condor chick is the first to hatch in the wild in Utah since the species was reintroduced in northern Arizona in 1996.

The Peregrine Fund and a host of federal agencies made the announcement Tuesday.

"This is the first documented occurrence of California condors raising a chick in Utah," says Eddie Feltes, condor project manager with the Peregrine Fund. "This is great news. This pair of condors and their newly hatched chick could be a major step toward California condors re-establishing themselves in southern Utah."

Park officials announced the birth in June after spotting the chick atop the 1,000 foot-tall nest. They say it’s a sign that the endangered species is growing in Utah.

Keith Day, regional wildlife biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said the chick won't try to fly until November or December.

"California condors take about six months to fledge," he said. "Their fledging period is the longest of any bird in North America."

He added that the parents will spend the next year raising the chick.

Last winter, the birds built a nest in a remote canyon in Zion National Park and began showing courtship behaviors.

Other condors have tried without success to breed in Zion in recent years. Some of them died from poisoning.

Contributing: Associated Press

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