Environment: The Biggest Shell Game in Town

A fluffy chick may signal a comeback for the California condor

When Lewis and Clark first sighted one in 1805, California condors soared freely from the Baja Peninsula to the Pacific Northwest. Until last month, just 27 of the orange-pated scavengers survived, all of them in the protected aviaries of the San Diego Wild Animal Park and the Los Angeles Zoo. Then on April 29 at 5:38 p.m., there were 28. Named Molloko, the Maidu Indian word for "condor," an ungainly chick, 6.75 oz., pecked its way out of its shell to become the newest member of the embattled clan -- and the first California condor ever conceived in captivity. Said Secretary...

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