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Oregon Zoo's Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation is located in rural area

COURTESY PHOTO: KELLI WALKER/OREGON ZOO - The first condor chick of the season hatched last week at the Oregon Zoo's Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation.Clackamas County commissioners are supporting a nationally renowned conservation facility for endangered condors in seeking federal funding for weatherization improvements amid increasingly challenging climate impacts.

Located in rural Clackamas County, the Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation is a remote condor breeding facility of the Oregon Zoo. The facility houses more than 30 Oregon-bred California condors, comprising over 5% of the critically endangered bird's global population.

Around 500 California condors are currently flying, a significant increase from the 22 individual birds remaining in 1973 when the Endangered Species Act was first introduced and the last of the species were brought into human care facilities for extinction prevention.

The Jonsson Center, which has produced more than 150 eggs — two thirds of which have hatched — since beginning efforts in 2003, has in recent years endured challenges resulting from wildfires and ice storms in the region, resulting in evacuations and extended power outages that have hampered operations.

Anticipating that these occurrences will increase in frequency, zoo officials say they have requested congressionally directed funds "for infrastructure upgrades to improve climate resiliency and preparedness at the condor breeding facility. Specifically, to be better equipped to deal with winter storms, wildfire and flooding."

In support of the request, commissioners on Tuesday, March 29 approved a letter addressed to Metro President Lynn Peterson, signed by Chair Tootie Smith, highlighting the significance of the Jonsson Center's efforts.

"We are writing in support of the Condor Conservation Improvement Project, the Oregon Zoo's appropriations request which will support one of the country's strongest endangered species success stories," commissioners wrote in the letter.

"These investments will support Clackamas County's disaster preparedness efforts and help ensure that these magnificent birds can once again soar above their historic habitat."

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