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Yurok tribe reaches out to protect a bird it holds dear: the California condor

More potentially good news for the California condor. An agreement between the Yurok tribe and the National Park Service and other agencies could make the tribe's ancestral lands in Del Norte and Humboldt counties California's northernmost condor release site.

For those keeping score, there are 407 condors alive, including 128 in the wild in California. Only 22 of the giant birds were left in 1982.

That's before remaining condors were captured and placed in captive breeding programs in 1987, with releases starting in 1992, first in Ventura and Kern counties, then along the Big Sur coast and in what is now Pinnacles National Park.

The Yurok have a long association with the condor and referred to it as "prey-go-neesh," or the bird that flies closest to the creator. Wildlife officials tell the LA Times that tribal lands along the Oregon border offer an excellent area for release because of lower contaminant levels in the region's marine mammals, among other things.

Image: A condor soars above Pinnacles National Park | Creative Commons/Wikipedia

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