The second California condor chick conceived and born in captivity struggled out of its egg Wednesday with assistance from keepers at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, a park spokesman said.

The successful birth of Mandan, named for an American Indian tribe in keeping with park tradition, indicates that a 15-year, multimillion-dollar struggle to save the ancient species from extinction is paying off, said spokesman Tom Hanscom.Mandan was born exactly two years after the last known wild condor was taken into captivity on April 19, 1987, ending an estimated 15,000-year reign by the giant vultures in California skies.

The condors, with wing spans up to 10 feet, began declining in 1940, most succumbing to lead poisoning caused by ingesting bullets lodged inside animals shot dead by hunters.