One of our Condor Cam viewers asked for information about Igor, one of the original condors in the California Condor Recovery Program. As I recall, Igor was the “house name” for a condor known officially as AC-9. Back in the mid- to late 80s, the field crews who were tracking and photographing the last remaining wild condors gave him that name. Igor became famous as the last California condor to be taken out of the wild, on April 19, 1987.
Igor was brought to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and stayed here until late 1988, when he was sent to the Los Angeles Zoo. A few years later, he was released to the wild and is still there today, living in and around the Hopper National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County.
As a fun sidelight item, his parents were the same as Sisquoc’s, the male condor you can watch daily on our popular Condor Cam. Sisquoc was the first California condor to hatch in captivity from an egg taken from a wild nest in 1983.
Another tidbit: after there were no breeding pairs left in the wild in 1986, and no hope of reproduction, Igor paired with an older female condor (AC-8) who had lost her mate. They ended up producing a fertile egg that was brought to the Safari Park. That chick hatched and was named Nojoqui, who is still here today and has an egg due to hatch around March 4!
Don Sterner is an animal care manager at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.