L.A. Zoo’s Baby Condor Hatches After Complications

August 21, 2020 by Juliet Bennett Rylah
LA1720 enters the world. Photo: L.A. Zoo

The California condor the L.A. Zoo was hoping would hatch has indeed hatched. The little chick emerged this morning after great efforts by the Condor team.

The chick known as LA1720 had some complications coming into the world. Typically, a chick would break the membrane and into the air cell of the egg with its beak, thus taking its first breath. This is known as “pipping.” This chick was unable to do because it was malpositioned in its egg. It was upside down and its head was under the wrong wing. The Condor team conducted a manual pip, which is risky because it could introduce bacteria. The team had to administer antibiotics after making the hole in the egg.


Finally, with the overnight help of a condor keeper identified as Debbie, the hours-long hatching process was a success. 

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EXCITING California condor update from LouAnne (@thedailyjames), our Conservation Ambassador: #LA1720 HAS BEEN BORN INTO OUR WORLD! It was after hours when this little one decided it was time and condor keeper Debbie was there, with great gentility, patience, and expertise, to make sure this malpositioned baby (see earlier posts) could get out of the shell. LISTEN TO THAT WEE VOICE! Debbie gives the newly hatched chick a very thorough exam (the equivalent of checking for all 10 fingers and toes), which includes applying antiseptic to the umbilicus (the equivalent to a human baby’s umbilical cord). The chick will go right into a warm brooder so the team can monitor health over the next 36 hours to make sure this new life is strong. The goal will be to get baby in the nestbox with parents Sequoia and Squapuni, and that is another challenge entirely! For now, baby is going right to sleep because being born is exhausting. Once there were only 22 of these birds left on the planet, and as of last night, there’s one more because the Condor team as well as teams around the Zoo did not give up. It’s an incredible emotional experience to, literally, witness these folks saving a species from extinction. Stay with us, pray with us. –LouAnne, honored to be the L.A. Zoo's Conservation Ambassador #helloworld #zoobaby #zoobabies #californiacondor #wildlifeconservation #lazoo #savingspecies #vulture #criticallyendangered #conservationambassador #babybird #californiacondorrecoveryprogram * LouAnne (@thedailyjames) is a professional storyteller and the Zoo's first-ever Conservation Ambassador. On her social media channels and ours, she is chronicling the Zoo's efforts to breed, care for, and restore to the wild critically endangered California condors. Search #LA1720 or go to to see all of LouAnne's posts to date about this particular chick and keep following along for updates as the story continues.

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The chick will be placed into a brooder and monitored for the next 36 hours and hopefully, will soon find itself in a nestbox with parents Sequoia and Squapuni. 

The California Condor Recovery Program launched in 1982 when there were just 22 birds left. One of the biggest hazards these scavengers face is lead poisoning after feeding on dead animals shot with lead bullets. 

Thanks to conservation efforts, there are now over 500 California condors in the world, including 300 in the wild. Just recently, wild condors were spotted in Sequoia National Park.

The L.A. Zoo will reopen to the public on August 26 with increased health and safety protocols including sanitization stations and mandatory face coverings. Guests must also purchase timed ticket in advance. Registration for tickets is open now.