Help for the Effort to Reintroduce
California Condors to the Wild
Condor Cam Designed to Transmit Live
images of Condors from the Release Site to the Internet
California condors, all but extinct
in 1987, are being reintroduced into the wild under
the direction of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in
partnership with the Ventana Wilderness Society and
The Peregrine Fund (TPF).
TerraFocus designed and built a prototype
Condor Cam to help the Ventana Wilderness Society (VWS)
manage the condors under their care as part of the Condor
Because condors can develop an attraction
to humans (imprinting), condor managers go to great
lengths to stay out of the sight of chicks. An observer
would hike to the condor reintroduction pen before dawn,
spend the day observing the condors from behind a one-way
window, and then hike back to the bunkhouse after dark.
To relieve manpower and make observation
easier, we designed a surveillance camera system. The
first generation Condor Cam was installed in the reintroduction
pen at VWS's Big Sur site where condors are held while
they are being prepared for release to the wild. The
Condor Cam provided a valuable research and management
tool for the biologists responsible for the birds. Observers
could watch the condors on a video monitor installed
at the bunkhouse.
The Condor Cam II system was designed
not only as a research and management tool, but to send
live images of the condors to the Internet where other
researchers, students, and the general public could
see the condors and learn about the work being done
to bring these magnificent birds back from the brink
of extinction. Condor Cam II included a weigh scale
data logging system that would be activated each time
a condor landed on the scale. Other features are described
in our How Condor Cam Works page.
TerraFocus fully developed this more
complete system for VWSs new Pinnacles release
site but a change in the location of the site and other
administrative issues prevented us from being able to
install the system there. The remoteness of Ventana's
Big Sur site and The Peregrine Fund's Vermillion Cliffs
site preclude being able to install the Internet links.
So the Internet link-up is not possible at this time.