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Condor Ridge


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Condor Ridge at the Wild Animal Park
Exhibit Description

condor at homeCondor Ridge celebrates the diversity of North American habitats and their rare and endangered animal inhabitants, including a dozen species of birds, mammals, and reptiles. Desert bighorn sheep sprint nimbly up granite boulders; fast-flying aplomado falcons swoop down on prey hiding in the prairie grasses; and brilliant green thick-billed parrots are seen and heard in towering pine forests.

"We've designed Condor Ridge to introduce guests to unique animals from our own continent in a setting that utilizes the inherent views and spacious surroundings of our 1,800-acre park," says Bob McClure, general manager of the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. "Condor Ridge affords us the opportunity to educate our guests about the importance of preserving our native species and local habitats. It also enables us to tell the survival stories of North American species that have experienced decline and recovery."

thick billed parrotYou enter the $3.48 million Condor Ridge area via the Wild Animal Park's mature Conifer Forest, planted with pine, spruce, fir, and redwood trees. At its entrance, marked by a rocky outcropping with Condor Ridge etched in stone, a self-guided tour journal is available for you as you begin your journey on a winding path past a variety of exhibits.

The first habitat is a pine forest that provides roosting places for endangered thick-billed parrots, which once ranged in forests across Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico. At the base of the trees, you'll see western greater roadrunners gliding among the native shrubs.

big horn sheepA grassland habitat is home to northern porcupines and rare aplomado falcons. Since the 1940s the steel-gray falcons have rarely been seen in the skies of the United States. Well known for their prickly guard hairs, the northern porcupine is a more common but still a significant denizen of North American forests.

Also along the trail is a prairie ecosystem featuring a series of exhibits for endangered black-footed ferrets and desert tortoises as well as black-tailed prairie dogs, western burrowing owls, American magpies, and western Harris' hawks.

"Although some of the animals at Condor Ridge are critically endangered, others are what we call 'indicator species,'" says Michael Mace, curator of birds. "These animals are great indicators of the health of the environment. By monitoring them, we can assess the status of the ecosystem in which they live."

condors in exhibitAt the end of the 430-foot-long (131-meter-long) trail is an observation deck with an interpretive center that focuses on California condor and bighorn sheep recovery efforts. From the observation deck, you can get up-close perspectives of an elusive bighorn sheep herd as the animals scramble along a rocky hillside. Nearby, North America's largest flying bird, the California condor, can be seen on boulders and cliffs inside a six-story aviary. The California condor, which has never before been displayed at the Wild Animal Park, is symbolic of successful native species recovery programs.

Take an interactive tour! Condor Ridge animals Condor Ridge Facts Exhibit description

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