A Match Made in...Mexico

With the successful hatching of three chicks this spring, Mexico’s California condor conservation breeding program at Chapultepec Zoo took a big step forward in 2016. It has been a long haul for a program that began almost ten years ago, with the transfer of two male condors to Mexico City from the United States in 2007. A-way and Aquimowon, were transferred from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to Chapultepec Zoo on May of 2007. It was not until seven years later, in October of 2014, when two females were able to join A-way and Aquimowon in Mexico City. Sinya and the condor only known as #433 both hatched in April of 2007 at the Center of Birds of Prey in Boise Idaho. After spending the first years of their lives at the Condor Country exhibit at the Santa Barbara Zoo, these two females now call Mexico City home.

With plenty of capacity building and preparation, when Sinya and #433 were transferred to Mexico City from the U.S. in 2014, Mexico’s California condor conservation breeding program was able to hit the ground running. After a short acclimation period, Sinya paired with A-way and #433 paired with Aquimowon, with both pairs being observed mating for the first time on February 14 of 2015. While eggs produced in 2015 by both pairs were not fertile, Sinya laid two fertile eggs (a double-clutch!) in early spring of 2016 and #433 laid a single fertile egg. These three eggs were successfully incubated and hatched at the Chapultepec Zoo conservation breeding facility.

A-way and Sinya are now first-time parents to siblings Nakai and Mimiteh, and #433 and Aquimowon to Ashkii. A first and huge accomplishment for Mexico’s California condor conservation breeding program. After several weeks of being raised using condor puppets by the Chapultepec Zoo’s veterinary staff, in June of this year all three chicks were transferred to the California condor release site in the San Pedro Martir Sierras of Baja California, Mexico. Nakai, Mimiteh and Ashkii will spend just about a year growing next to an adult condor that will serve as their mentor. If all goes well with their developmental, these three chicks will successfully fledge and be released next year, when they will hopefully be flying along with the rest of the free-flying condors population of Baja California.