The first California condor chick conceived in captivity was successfully hatched Friday, marking a milestone in the long struggle to save the species from extinction.
"We have a chick," said Martha Baker, a spokeswoman for the San Diego Wild Animal Park.Baker said the bird was "alive and healthy," but she declined to provide further details until a Friday night news conference.
The hatching culminated a 60-hour round-the-clock vigil at the "condorminium" at the Wild Animal Park, home to 15 of the remaining 28 condors, including the new chick. The Los Angeles Zoo has the other 13 birds.
The chick will be named Moloko, a Maidu Indian word for condor, zoo officials said. An Indian name was chosen because the bird, which has a wingspread of 12 feet, is revered by many tribes as the thunderbird, the mythical bearer of thunder and lightning.
Starting in March 1983, 17 condor eggs were taken from the wild and hatched by scientists until the last known wild condor was taken into captivity April 19, 1987. Thirteen of the hatchlings are still alive.