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Two Endangered California Condors Sent to Mexico Zoo

A U.S. Embassy statement says the zoo will begin raising the birds for eventual release into the wild. The goal is for Mexico to take over all aspects of breeding and reintroduction in the country.

The raptors once ranged from Canada to Mexico but nearly became extinct in the 1980s.

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After an aggressive breeding program, about 400 are alive today including some 230 in the wild. One population is in the northern Mexican state of Baja California.

The U.S. ambassador, the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and senior Mexican officials held a ceremony Monday to celebrate the transfer and the 20th anniversary of a wildlife partnership.

Chapultepec Zoo is a zoo located in Chapultepec Park; it is one of four zoos near Mexico City, and the best known Mexican zoo. It was founded July 6, 1923 by Mexican biologist Alfonso Luis Herrera using donations from private citizens and governmental funds from the Ministry of Agriculture and Development, and also with funds from the Society of Biological Studies. The zoo is rather popular after a recent renovation begun in 1992 which took two years; estimates of its popularity range from 5.5 million visitors per year to as much as 8 million, who all come to see its large collection of almost 2000 animals from more 200 different species. It is the second largest zoo in Mexico after the Guadalajara Zoo in Guadalajara, Jalisco.