Scientists at the San Diego Wild Animal Park have determined that the first California condor conceived and hatched in captivity is a female, raising hopes that the breed will be saved from extinction.
The announcement was made Tuesday, about four months after the chick was hatched, by park spokesman Tom Hanscom.There are no condors left in the wild. The captive birds reside at the Wild Animal Park in northern San Diego County and at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Blood samples taken last week at the park revealed that the 4-month-old condor, named Molloko, was a female, the 15th now in captivity and part of a breeding flock of 28 birds.
Hanscom said Tuesday Molloko's gender could not be determined any earlier because the blood tests would have placed too much stress on a younger chick.
Condors have no markings that distinguish the males from females.
Had Molloko been a male, there would have been 14 males and 14 females in captivity.