Ready, Willing, and Sable
There’s sad news and a silver lining in the world of endangered species today. On the sad side, the first California condor chick brooded and hatched in the wild in nearly two decades was found dead of unknown causes last Friday in Los Padres National Forest. The death of the chick was a blow to a $35 million effort to save North America’s largest bird; still, the program is hailed as a success by biologists, who note that condor numbers have risen from 15 in the 1980s to a current population of almost 200, 73 of which are surviving in the wild. Meanwhile, in better news, the giant black sable antelope, thought to have been a casualty of three decades of civil war in Angola, has been found alive by a South African expedition. The antelope is one of Africa’s most spectacular animals; news of its continued existence was greeted with jubilance in Angola, where it is the national symbol.