Courtesy of Matt Mais and The Yurok Tribe

In March 2022, the Ventana Wildlife Society transported the young condors to the Northern California Condor Restoration Program’s (NCCRP) flight pen. The reintroduction and management of California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) is one of the Yurok Tribe’s flagship conservation projects. The Yurok Tribe, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are partners in the NCCRP — the collaborative effort to restore condors to Yurok Ancestral Territory and the Pacific Northwest. Through these efforts, the Yurok Condor Restoration Program (YCRP) endeavors to reestablish an apex scavenger that has been absent for more than a century, restore the balance and biodiversity that existed prior to Euro-American colonization of the region, and promote a thriving ecology for the benefit of wildlife and humans. The four young birds will acclimatize in the pen before they are released in later in 2022.

A seven-year-old condor has been transported to the facility from The World Center for Birds of Prey. The adult bird will serve as a mentor to the two- and three-year old condors, but it will remain in the flight pen. The elder or mentor bird will assist the juvenile condors in honing the skills they need survive outside of captivity. The extremely social avian scavengers learn from their elders and their own experiences. Aside from recent activities, the condors have had minimal contact with humans since birth. Similar to other wild animals, dependence on humans is detrimental to the birds.

The Yurok Tribe would like to thank the Ventana Wildlife Society for transporting the birds to the Northern California Condor Restoration Program facility. The Yurok Tribe is one of many indigenous cultures that consider condors sacred. California condors, or prey-go-neesh in Yurok, have been spiritually tied to the Yurok Hlkelonah — the cultural and ecological landscape — since the beginning of the world. Condors feature prominently in the Tribe’s origin narrative, and its feathers and songs are foundational components of Yurok World Renewal ceremonies. Management and conservation of condors in Yurok Ancestral Territory and the Pacific Northwest is part of the Yurok Tribe’s obligation to restore balance to the world. YCRP seeks to return the condor to the integral role it plays in healthy ecosystems and, in doing so, to renew and strengthen the spiritual lifeways of the many tribes who revere this majestic species.

To view the birds, please check out the Yurok Condor Cam at

More about The Yurok Tribe

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