Press Release: 10/21/2014

Oakland Zoo and Ventana Wildlife Society Install First Live-Streaming California Condor Webcam in the Wild

Contact:
Nicky Mora, Senior Manager, Marketing/PR Kelly Sorenson, Executive Director
(510) 632-9525 ext. 130 (831) 455-9514
nmora@oaklandzoo.org KellySorenson@ventanaws.org


Oakland, CA – On October 21, 2013, Oakland Zoo and Ventana Wildlife Society will turn on the first ever LIVE streaming webcam to monitor California condors in the wild. For more than a year, teams at Ventana Wildlife Society, Oakland Zoo, CamZone, and FedEx have strategized how to secure funding for the camera and install it into a remote area of Big Sur, California, only accessible via a treacherous service road. The months of hard work paid off in the end. As of today, field biologists and the public are now able to see the largest North American land bird up-close from the convenience of their desktops.

“We at Oakland Zoo are thrilled about this project,” said Nancy Filippi, Managing Director at Oakland Zoo. “There was a time when we honestly didn’t know if installing this camera would be possible. It took nearly a year of trouble shooting with phone companies and local wireless support, traveling to Big Sur to survey areas, and working diligently with CamZone to make this happen. We are invested in educating the public about California condors, and this camera is an outward display of our conservation mission.”

This webcam will become a vital tool to Ventana Wildlife Society as it will allow wildlife biologists to zoom in on birds, check tags, look for signs of medical issues, and easily monitor what is happening. Prior to having the webcam, biologists had to drive an hour and a half to the Big Sur location to check in on the birds. Now, they are able to cut three hours out of that process and can simply move the camera with remote access from their office computers.

“This new webcam allows viewers to see condor conservation through the eyes of the dedicated biologists who are trying to save this bird in the wild,” said Kelly Sorenson, Executive Director of Ventana Wildlife Society.

With funding generously donated by FedEx and a camera powered by Camzone, the public can now regularly observe California condors in the wild – an opportunity that was never possible until now. The webcam is accessible for viewing on the Zoo’s website http://www.oaklandzoo.org/Condor_Cam.php?cam=Big_Sur

“Being part of a project that helps biologists study and protect California’s largest land bird from extinction is important to FedEx,” said Cher Woodward, Senior Manager, AGSF Western Region, FedEx Express. “We also see this webcam as a way for Oakland Zoo to educate their guests about the plight of the condor. We commend Ventana Wildlife Society and Oakland Zoo for their conservation commitment to save these brilliant birds.”

“CamZone was built on the popularity of animal cams, so partnering to help save the California condor was a great opportunity for our team to give back,” said Steve Walker Vice President of Business Development at Camzone. “Getting a camera on the condor release pen, in the wild, was by far the most complicated job we have ever attempted. We are ecstatic with the finished product and honored to be part of such an amazing project. We are dedicated to continuing the support with our commercial free hosting and future projects to help bring awareness to the condors’ plight.”

The idea that put this LIVE streaming webcam project in motion stems from Oakland Zoo’s participation with the California Condor Recovery Program. In 2012, Oakland Zoo made a commitment to help rehabilitate sick or injured condors by building The Steve and Jackie Kane Condor Recovery Center, a facility specifically designed to treat the massive sized birds. Veterinary and zookeeper staff trained for several months in tandem with the veterinary staff of Los Angeles Zoo, which is currently the only Zoo in California able to treat lead poisoned condors. Oakland Zoo is involved in a lengthy permit process and will be rehabilitating California condors onsite in the near future.

Condor Recovery Program on Flickr

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO:

The Bay Area’s award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid’s activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information please visit our website at www.oaklandzoo.org.

ABOUT VENTANA WILDLIFE SOCIETY: Founded in 1977, Ventana Wildlife Society led the way to successful reintroduction of the Bald Eagle and the California Condor, two of the most iconic birds in the world, to native habitats in central California. Through the course of their work, they developed an organizational culture that strongly values science, education and collaboration and regularly found ways for both wildlife and people to benefit from one another. VWS recovers individual species and tracks the populations of many others so that conservation can be timely as well as effective. Focusing on youth education, we better ensure that future generations have the willingness and capacity to help wildlife. Our vision is to have a society who cares for and supports wildlife across the planet, particularly in California. www.ventanaws.org

ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA CONDOR:
In 1987, the last wild California condor was taken into captivity to join the twenty-six remaining condors, in an attempt to bolster the population through a captive breeding program. Through the effort of California zoos and the Ventana Wildlife Society there are now about 231 California condors in the wild. For more than twenty years, Ventana Wildlife Society has made it a mission to save the bird from extinction by regularly trapping and treating condors suffering from high blood levels of lead. Prompt treatment has saved the lives of several birds in the flock. They monitor nests to ensure the greatest protection possible from potential threats to productivity.
Creating a conservation partnership with Ventana Wildlife Society has become very important to the Oakland Zoo. In an effort to demonstrate the Oakland Zoo’s involvement with the California Condor Recovery Program and commitment to saving the Condor from extinction, Managing Director, Nancy Filippi, filmed and produced a video that explains the story of these birds and the efforts being put forth right now by organizations throughout California to research, recover, and expand the population of North America’s largest flight bird, which has a wingspan of 9.5 feet. To learn more about this partnership and watch a video, go to www.oaklandzoo.org and click on the webcam tab or go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Bhm3k_OINA&feature=share&list=UUCDsJ9prIx28MVLRUaL2b1w

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