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Wildfire prompts evacuation of L.A. Zoo's California Condors

July 27, 2008 |  6:19 pm

Condor_2A hillside brush fire that broke out this afternoon in Griffith Park prompted an evacuation of the Los Angeles Zoo and came dangerously close to a California Condor breeding center.

The 15-acre blaze, which firefighters squelched in three hours, did not burn onto zoo property. But as a precaution, zoo officials evacuated more than 4,000 visitors at 1:05 p.m.,  said L.A. Zoo Spokesman Jason Jacobs.

Also evacuated were 18 California Condors and two King Vultures. Workers put the birds in crates and relocated them to an area of the zoo more distant from the fire.

The Condors West breeding center, one of two on zoo property, was of particular concern because it is in a secluded area that was closest to the wildfire, Jacobs said.

“Because of the heat, the smoke and the uncertainty of the fire, the decision was made to evacuate,” he said.

California Condors, known for their large wingspan, longevity, and population decline due to lead poisoning and habitat destruction, have been reintroduced to the wild largely through captive breeding programs like the one at the L.A. Zoo.

--Tony Barboza

Photo: Los Angeles Zoo

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