The Bald Hills in California. The Yurok Tribe and the local Redwood National and State Parks are working together to reintroduce the California Condor to the area. Image courtesy of National Park Service.

Thanks to the Yurok Tribe, Condors Will Return to the Pacific Northwest

Sep 21, 2021 at 6:20pm

Rachel Fritts

Next spring, California condors will soar in northern California for the first time in a century. Four young condors will be released in Redwood National and State Parks, reintroducing this critically endangered species to what was once only the middle of a vast range that stretched from Baja California all the way up to British Columbia. But if it weren’t for the Yurok Tribe, who have fought for the return of this culturally and ecologically important bird for the past 13 years, the condor’s Pacific Northwest homecoming might never have happened at all.

The story of the California condor’s (Gymnogyps californianus) return to the Pacific Northwest is one of endurance, said Thomas Gates, who worked as the director of the tribe’s Office of Self-Governance at the time tribal elders decided to prioritize condor reintroduction.

When the tribe first stated their desire to bring the condor back to northern California, “people thought we were crazy,” Gates said. It took years of research, relationship building, and careful planning to get the official go-ahead from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to establish a new population of condors that might fly as far north as Oregon.

The USFWS backed the project in March of this year.

“I’m really excited to be a tribal member helping to lead this tribal endeavor, because honestly tribes don’t get to do this sort of thing as often as I’d like,” said Tiana Williams-Claussen, who is the director of the Yurok Tribe Wildlife Department and has played an integral role in the reintroduction effort.

Continue reading the article from Mongabay News here