Help identify a chick with a donation to the California Condor Recovery Program

A young California condor hatched last August thanks to the heroic efforts of LA Zoo staff needs a name.

The zoo has launched a crowd-sourced naming campaign to raise key funds for the California Condor Recovery Program (CCRP), which will help restore a sustainable population of California Condors to the wild.

The bird is the offspring of the adult condors Sequoia and Squapuni. They took care of a dummy egg while the staff took critical care of the real egg. Here’s what happened as described in an article on

“The chick known as LA1720 had some complications in the world. Typically, a chick would break the membrane with its beak into the egg’s air cell and take its first breath. This is known as “pipping”. This chick couldn’t because it was incorrectly positioned in its egg. It was upside down and his head was under the wrong wing. The Condor team performed a manual pip which is risky because it could bring in bacteria. The team had to give antibiotics after making the hole in the egg.

“Eventually, the hour-long hatching process was an overnight success with the help of a condor guard identified as Debbie.”

Once the LA1720 hatched and thrived, the staff carefully positioned it in a tray and replaced the dummy egg in the nesting box. The adults accepted and took care of LA1720, although it was put back into human custody for a while because zookeepers, watching on monitors, could see that it was having difficulty breathing. This problem has now been resolved and the zoo is now looking for help by a name.

Donors can support the zoo’s efforts under the CCRP, including breeding, preparing condors for release into the wild, providing medical treatment for sick and injured birds, performing on-site surveillance and interventions, and training and mentoring staff from partner agencies and institutions.

You can take part in the CCRP’s first name campaign for condors and choose from four names with a donation of any amount. The campaign began on December 9th and will run until you reach the goal of raising $ 25,000 or January 7th, 2021, whichever comes first. Each donor is recognized on the LA Zoo’s website, with additional benefits for those who reach the donor level.

All net proceeds – regardless of the name of the donation – benefit the CCRP and are tax deductible. For more information on the inspiring and often harrowing story of LA1720, which has captivated thousands of social media fans since August, as well as the four names and how to participate, please visit

Four possible names

Members of the zoo’s Condor Keeper team have selected four names known to LA1720 social media fans as the “Navy SEALS of the Zoo” for their skill, skill and determination. All names have a deep personal resonance for the Keepers and connections to efforts to save this iconic species.

Cali (short for California)

Condor keeper Chandra David always dreamed of living with wild animals and that dream came true through her conservation mission to save one of the world’s most endangered animals in her own backyard. “California is so rich in biodiversity … I can’t think of a better name than ‘California’ – a name that reminds us what this conservation program is about,” says David.


The late Dr. Michael P. Wallace was the LA Zoo’s Bird Curator (1987-1998) and Conservation Curator, head of the California Condor Recovery Team for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and program coordinator for the California Condor Species Survival Plan. He directed the capture, release, and breeding programs for the California Condor at the LA Zoo and later at the San Diego Zoo Global. He has been a life-changing mentor to many California Condor conservationists – including Mike Clark at the zoo -. “Michael Wallace was more of a mentor to me than anyone,” says Clark.


Debbie Sears is a storyteller. In the 24 years she has worked with California Condors, she has given countless tours and presentations on these birds and told their story. And after each one, people tell her that they are finally seeing how amazing these once mysterious birds are and understand how much they need our help. “‘Timoloqin’ means ‘telling a story’ in the Chumash language, and it’s perfect because so many people were drawn to the LA1720 story and learned about condors and the program,” says Sears.


The latest addition to the California Condor team, Jon Guenther, chose a name to honor the First Nation working to reintroduce condors to their ancestral lands in the Pacific Northwest. “Last year the US American Fish and Wildlife Service suggested setting up a jointly managed condor release facility in the Redwood National Park,” explains Günther. “Bringing the condor – a sacred bird – back to this region near Redwood National and State Parks is the first time in a century that Prey-Go-Neesh (the Yurok name for the condor) has ascended there. In honor of the First Nation that initiated the return of the California condors to this part of their historical range, we should name this chick “Yurok”, “explains Günther.

Read our previous stories about the California Condor

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