The Cambrian

Fire forces removal of 5 juvenile condors from San Simeon mountains

These condors — seen last February in their fly pen in the mountains above San Simeon — have been removed and transported to Ventura County because of smoke and threat of fire.
These condors — seen last February in their fly pen in the mountains above San Simeon — have been removed and transported to Ventura County because of smoke and threat of fire. Special to The Cambrian

Heavy smoke and the threat of fire have resulted in the temporary removal of the five juvenile California condors that have been held in a large fly pen in the mountains above San Simeon since February.

The five Condors, raised in captivity, were to be released this summer to join with the seven juveniles that were released above San Simeon in November and have been flying free, back and forth between San Luis Obispo County, the Big Sur area and Pinnacles.

Since we can’t predict where the smoke is going to blow, it was best to remove the birds temporarily.

Kelly Sorenson, Ventana Wildlife Society executive director

The free-flying condors can “easily avoid the fire during the day,” said Kelly Sorenson, executive director of Ventana Wildlife Society, but captive birds are in a precarious situation because they can’t avoid the smoke and flames.

“Since we can’t predict where the smoke is going to blow, it was best to remove the birds temporarily,” Sorenson said.

The five juvenile birds were removed from their fly pen Monday, Aug. 15, and taken to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County. They will be brought back to the mountains above San Simeon when the fire danger has passed, Sorenson said.

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