North American tribes respect the California condor and see it as a symbol of power. In legends, they call it the "thunderbird," bringing thunder to the skies with the beating of its huge wings. Yet, the California condor population was almost wiped out by the destruction of habitat, poaching, and lead poisoning. In 1982, only 22 birds remained in the wild. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance received permission to begin the first captive propagation program for California condors. Thanks to the California Condor Recovery Program, the population of California condors has grown to more than 500 birds. More than half of these birds are now flying free in the wild.
Most of our condors live in their off-exhibit “condor-minium” at the Safari Park. But you can get up-close views of condors that are not in our breeding program at Condor Ridge.
When you aren't at the Park, watch our condors daily on Condor Cam!