VERMILION CLIFFS, Ariz. – This year has proven exciting for California Condors in Arizona and Utah with the milestone hatching of the 1,000th condor at Zion National Park, but the excitement is far from over as the 23rd annual public condor release is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28.

The public is invited to join the recovery effort by witnessing first-hand a spectacular release into the wild of several captive-bred young condors on National Public Lands Day.

Up to four California Condors will be released by The Peregrine Fund atop the spectacular ledges of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona at 11 a.m. Sept. 28.

The public is welcome to observe the release from a viewing area where spotting scopes provided by partners and Swarovski Optik will be set up, and project personnel will be available to answer questions.

The release coincides with National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance America’s public lands. National Public Lands Day involves the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies, along with state and local governments and private groups.

• Driving directions: Take Highway 89A from Kanab or Page to the Vermilion Cliffs (from Flagstaff take Highway 89 to Highway 89A). Turn north onto BLM Road 1065 (a dirt road next to the small house just east of the Kaibab Plateau) and continue almost 3 miles. View a map

• Bring: Spotting scope or binoculars, sunscreen, water, snack, chair and layered clothing.

• Details: Informational kiosk, shade structure, and restroom at the site.

This will be the 23rd annual public release of condors in Arizona since the southwest condor recovery program began in 1996.

The young condors are some of the birds that hatched at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, Oregon Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and were then transported to Vermilion Cliffs National Monument for release into the wild.

The historical California Condor population declined to just 22 individuals in the 1980s when the greater California Condor Recovery Program was initiated to save the species from extinction.

As of August 2019, there are 92 condors in the wild in the rugged canyon country of northern Arizona and southern Utah, and the total world population of endangered California Condors numbers nearly 500 individuals, with more than half flying the skies of Arizona, Utah, California and Mexico.

The Arizona-Utah recovery effort is a cooperative program by federal, state and private partners.

For more information about California Condors in Arizona: http://www.peregrinefund.org/condor

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