Santa Barbara Zoo & Condor Conservation
Since 2002, when the Zoo became an official member of the California Condor Recovery Program, we have been an active collaborator with the program, providing support for condor reintroduction efforts.
In 2002, members of the Zoo’s maintenance team traveled to Baja Mexico to help build condor release facilities with the Mexican condor partners.
For the past few years, Zoo staff have also worked onsite with the Ventana Wildlife Society in Big Sur on a variety of projects. The Zoo recently received Ventana’s Lapanski Award recognizing cooperation in a number of areas, including the building of a consolidated rearing pen for young condors awaiting release into the wild.
In January 2007, Land Rover Santa Barbara, Land Rover U.S., and the Santa Barbara Auto Group assisted the Zoo in obtaining a Land Rover LR3 for use in the California Condor Conservation Program and other field activities.
Estelle Sandhaus, Assistant Director of Conservation and Research, leads the Zoo’s conservation research activities both in the field and at the Zoo. She helped develop the protocol and trained volunteers and staff for a “nest watching” program now in its third season. Zoo veterinarian Karl Hill has been trained to rappel down cliffs to examine chicks in their nests, which takes place at 30, 60, 90, and 120 days. The Zoo also facilitates data entry and analysis and collaborates in writing grant proposals and reports. Learn more about the Santa Barbara Zoo’s Condor Nest Monitoring Program.