Escondido, California - Three California condor chicks hatched at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in March have been given names in the Kumeyaay language by members of the Kumeyaay bands of San Diego, including the San Pasqual Band, Campo Kumeyaay Band and San Ysabel Band of Kumeyaay. The three young birds—named Met-ha my wahm (meaning “high wind rider”), Po-mahn-kwakurr (meaning “far-off flyer”) and Eyaip-poman (meaning “flies through”)—are important representatives of their species, which are seen as symbols of power by indigenous North American people. These condors are candidates for future reintroduction into the wild and will carry their names into the skies of North America.
“Condors, like many native species, are part of Kumeyaay traditional stories,” said Johnny B. Contreras, San Pasqual Band tribal elder and cultural committee member. “To be part of the beginning of these chicks’ journey is to be aware of their future among all of our lives. San Pasqual is proud to be part of this process.”
Conserving wildlife is a critical function of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which has been helping restore California condor populations since 1987. An important aspect of the recovery program is preparing young condors to be independent of humans. The three chicks are being raised by their parents with limited exposure to people to encourage them to learn natural condor behaviors.
“The sight of a California condor’s nine-foot wingspan soaring overhead has inspired human beings for centuries,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “By working with the San Pasqual Band to name these newly hatched chicks, we are honoring that inspiring history and reconnecting people with the wildlife around us.”
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has collaborated with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to recover this iconic species’ numbers from a low of 22 individuals to the current population of more than 500. The success of condor conservation efforts has demonstrated the effectiveness of conservation for all of California’s native species.
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance proudly recognizes and honors the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians—the first stewards of the land and native species—which includes several species that are currently cared for and protected by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
About San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is a nonprofit international conservation leader, committed to inspiring a passion for nature and creating a world where all life thrives. The Alliance empowers people from around the globe to support their mission to conserve wildlife through innovation and partnerships. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance supports cutting-edge conservation and brings the stories of their work back to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park—giving millions of guests, in person and virtually, the opportunity to experience conservation in action. The work of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance extends from San Diego to strategic and regional conservation “hubs” across the globe, where their strengths—via their “Conservation Toolbox,” including the renowned Wildlife Biodiversity Bank—are able to effectively align with hundreds of regional partners to improve outcomes for wildlife in more coordinated efforts. By leveraging these tools in wildlife care and conservation science, and through collaboration with hundreds of partners, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has reintroduced more than 44 endangered species to native habitats. Each year, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s work reaches over 1 billion people in 150 countries via news media, social media, their websites, educational resources and the San Diego Zoo Kids channel, which is in children’s hospitals in 13 countries. Success is made possible by the support of members, donors and guests to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, who are Wildlife Allies committed to ensuring All Life Thrives.