476 Donors from Around the Country Participated with the Winning Name Being Cali or Cal, Short for California
The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), the non-profit organization that provides financial and marketing support to the Los Angeles Zoo, is excited to announce it raised $31,076 for the California Condor Recovery Program (CCRP), surpassing its goal of $25,000, through its crowd-funded condor naming campaign for its hatchling formally known by its ID number, LA1720. Cali or Cal is the winning name, eking out a win by $500 over Yurok, with individual donations ranging from $1 to $1,000. The chick, whose sex is yet to be determined, will be dubbed Cali if female or Cal if male.
“We are thrilled by the outpouring of support that stretched from coast to coast,” says GLAZA President Tom Jacobson. “The money raised will help support the reintroduction of the California condor to its ancestral skies, and the enthusiasm we have witnessed through small donor-funded campaigns like this tells us that, even during time of tremendous uncertainty, conservation of wildlife is still a high priority,” he goes on to say.
Funds raised will support the zoo’s efforts as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s CCRP – which include breeding, preparing condors for release into the wild, providing medical treatment for sick and injured birds, monitoring and interventions in the field, and training and mentoring staff from partner agencies and institutions. Cali/Cal will stay at the L.A. Zoo until reaching maturity, at which time it will be placed where it can best contribute to the genetic diversity of the species. Since reaching a population low point of just 22 individual condors in the world in the 1980s, the Los Angeles Zoo has assisted in rebuilding the population, which now numbers over 520, with more than half of those birds living in the wild.”
Cali/Cal’s tenuous tale of survival was well-documented by the L.A. Zoo’s first-ever Conservation Ambassador LouAnne Brickhouse (@TheDailyJames on Instagram) through dramatic photos and video on social media. Prior to hatching, this chick experienced a number of serious health challenges, including being malpositioned inside the shell, a condition which normally would have resulted in death. Through medical intervention and the tenacity of the Zoo’s condor keeper team’s care, this miracle chick survived and is thriving.
Four names were available for the public to choose from, with ‘California’ being the suggestion of Condor keeper Chandra David because “California is so rich in biodiversity…I can think of no better name than ‘California’–a name that reminds us what this conservation program is all about.” David always dreamed of a life working with wild animals and that dream was realized through her conservation mission to save one of the world’s most endangered animals in her own backyard.
“This is the first time the L.A. Zoo has allowed real-time behind-the-scenes access and documentation of the condor team’s vital work, and we see it galvanized legions of fans and followers to contribute to the naming of this hatchling,” states Los Angeles Zoo CEO and Zoo Director Denise Verret. “It’s inspiring to see their hard work come from behind closed doors to public view so our supporters better understand the delicate, and often harrowing, work that goes into conservation and captive breeding.”