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International Vulture Awareness Day 2019

Event Snapshot

International Vulture Awareness Day

September 7 (Saturday)

10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Join us for International Vulture Awareness Day, where we’re celebrating these charismatic and often misunderstood birds with fascinating activities and special entertainment. Learn about the very important role that carrion eaters play in food webs around the world, and discover how the Zoo is helping to save the iconic California condor and other endangered vultures.

At and around Entry Plaza

Vulture Visit: Get up-close views of Dolly the California condor or Cacique the king vulture at keeper walkabouts at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Keeper Talk: At 12:30 p.m., hear vulture keeper Katie Vincent’s first-hand account of saving birds in Africa with conservation NGO VulPro.

Microtrash Education Station: Small bits of debris – or microtrash – can be a big problem for the vultures that ingest them. Discover how to spot microtrash with this collection activity.

Biofacts Education Station: Vultures play a key role in keeping ecosystems healthy. But, with all the less-than-fresh meat they consume, how do they stay health? Visit this station to find out.

California Condor Wild and Free Station: What’s life like for California condors in the wild, and what can you do to help them thrive there? Find out from representatives of all-volunteer organization California Condor Wild and Free.

Condor Crafts: Let your creativity soar! Color your own condor or make a vulture-inspired necklace.

“Nest Check” Rock-Climbing Wall: Scale a rock wall and pretend you’re a condor biologist reaching a nest atop a steep cliff. Biologists periodically visit California condor nests to check the health and progress of eggs and chicks. For ages 4+. Must wear closed-toed shoes. Weight maximum is 250 pounds. Waiver is required.

California Condor Rescue Zone: Explore this educational, interactive, air-conditioned space where children ages six and older can pretend to be a condor or play at being a vulture-saving doctor. Our Education staff will be hosting a condor-themed Campfire Story at 12:30 p.m.

At the Angela Collier World of Birds Theater

Bird Show Stars: Flock to the World of Birds Show for a special program highlighting some of our remarkable resident vultures at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. (Programming subject to change without notice due to weather.)

Why We’re Celebrating

With vulture populations plummeting and some species losing up to 90 percent of their populations, what’s there to celebrate? While human activity and development have pushed vultures and other species to the brink extinction, our actions from this moment forward can help save them. “We can be the solution,” explains L.A. Zoo Curator of Birds Mike Maxcy, “and it all begins with educating the uniformed. A great way to become informed is to visit the Zoo on International Vulture Awareness Day, a day where we celebrate the value, majesty, and beauty of the vultures that are found throughout the world and the five species that we exhibit here.”

Saving vultures requires more than education and awareness, though. It also takes hard work by dedicated experts in the field. The L.A. Zoo is proud to partner with other accredited institutions on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) action plan dedicated to protecting African vultures in the wild. “African and Asian vulture populations are plummeting out of control,” says L.A. Zoo Curator of Birds Mike Maxcy. “The main goal of the action plan is to improve the status of five species… in at least 25 percent of their African range by 2020.” Reaching this ambitious goal requires a lot of hard work by dedicated experts. It also requires public awareness and support, which is “critical to the success of this program,” Maxcy says. “That’s why events like International Vulture Awareness Day… are so important.”

Learn More

“A California Condor Success Story”: Meet L.A. Zoo California condor Anyapa, her species’ first successful single surrogate mother, who raised two chicks simultaneously. In the wild, it’s rare for a condor to care for offspring without a partner. But Anyapa did it, through a special bond with one of the Zoo’s animal keepers.

“6 Condor Chicks Born at L.A. Zoo Thanks to New Breeding Technique” (KTLA 5): The chick-rearing method that the L.A. Zoo first pioneered with California condor surrogate mother Anyapa was so successful that we’ve used it with other birds, yielding great results.

California Condor Population Rebounding After the Bird Species Nearly Went Extinct (People.com): Thanks to the California Condor Recovery Program – a partnership between our zoo, the San Diego Zoo, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and others – the 1,000th California condor chick recently hatched. In 1982, the wild population was down to just 22 birds.

International Vulture Awareness Day – Home Page: More than 100 organizations worldwide participate in International Vulture Awareness Day! See the list here.

Andean Condor: The Andean condor is one of the world’s largest flying birds. Learn more about these birds and visit our resident Andean condor, Leadbottom.

Black Vulture: Black vultures are the most common vulture in the Western Hemisphere. Discover more about their distribution and their unique family ties.

King Vulture: The king vulture was seen by the ancient Mayans as a messenger between gods and humans. Visit these colorful carrion-eaters in the South America section.

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