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San Pasqual, CA, United States

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Site: news.yahoo.com

After a California condor pair's egg went mysteriously missing in the middle of the night, the duo is back on track, raising a foster chick that biologists surreptitiously slipped into the birds' mountain nest. The family affair began with condors #111, a 22-year-old female hatched at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and #509, a 7-year-old wild male. The two began courting in 2014, and nested together near the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in southern California, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Before long, #111 laid an egg. A team of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) biologists snuck into the nest on March 2 to set up a bird cam and check the egg's viability with a candle test, in which a bright light is used to check the growing fetus inside. They reported that everything looked good, and estimated that the egg would hatch between April 4 and April 6. [10 Species You Can Kiss Goodbye] But then, the egg went missing. On the night between March 20 and March 21, it disappeared. In order to save battery power, the bird cam does not record during the night, so there's no proof of what happened to the egg. But, in all likelihood, a predator made off with it, leaving only a few eggshell fragments behind, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which runs the cam. This development was worrisome to scientists, as the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In 2010, there were only 104 adult California condors of breeding age in the wild, and just 44 had produced surviving offspring, the IUCN said. After the egg vanished, USFWS biologists devised an action plan: On March 21, they rappelled into the nest and replaced the missing egg with a dummy egg. Condor #111 entered the nest cavity just as they left, and — to everyone's relief — began incubating the fake egg. Her partner, #509, incubated the dummy egg, too. In the meantime, the recovery team called the Los Angeles Zoo, which was raising eggs that condors had laid in captivity. The zoo gave one of its eggs to the USFWS scientists, who furtively rappelled into the nest again and swapped the dummy egg for the new foster egg on April 3. The swap worked. The adults — which look a bit like hunchbacked, black umbrellas — incubated the egg, and it hatched on April 4, making it the first time that a condor chick had hatched live on a bird cam, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It's unclear whether the 9-ounce (255 grams) chick is a male or female, but a blood test within its first year of life will clear that up. Once the chick turns 4 months old, biologists will tag it so that they can track it when it starts flying, at about 6 months of age. For now, both #111 and #509 are taking turns keeping the chick warm and feeding it. Bird enthusiasts can watch the chick grow up on the California condor bird cam, and follow it on Twitter: @CornellCondors. The biologists hope that the mystery thief responsible for the first egg's disappearance will leave the new chick alone. "Sometimes, condors select nest cavities that are accessible to terrestrial predators that are skilled climbers, such as bobcats, black bears and mountain lions," the Cornell Lab of Ornithology said. "We will continue to closely monitor the condor nestling via the live streaming camera and newly placed motion activated Bushnell game camera that is capable of taking nighttime images." Condor chicks remain dependent on their parents for more than a year, so birdwatchers will have plenty of time to watch the little chick grow up, the lab said. Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Site: www.scientificamerican.com

The extinction of the northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) draws ever closer. Nola, a 41-year-old female that has lived at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park since 1989, was euthanized this morning after she stopped eating and her activity levels dropped. Nola had undergone surgery on Nov. 13 to drain an infected abscess within her pelvic region. The surgery was successful, but the zoo reports that Nola’s condition worsened over the past 24 hours. With Nola’s death, there are now only three northern white rhinos left on the planet, all of which live at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The two remaining female rhinos are incapable of natural reproduction. The last surviving male, Sudan, has a very low sperm count but the conservancy still has hopes for in vitro fertilization. San Diego Zoo recently set aside $2 million as part of an effort to keep the species from going extinct by implanting northern white rhino embryos into surrogates from the related southern white rhino subspecies (C. s. simum). That plan may still come to fruition, as the zoo has a collection of suitable genetic material in its Frozen Zoo. Northern white rhinos went extinct in the wild after years of extensive poaching for their valuable horns, which are used in traditional Asian medicine. The last wild northern white rhinos were killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2006. Nola is being eulogized today on Twitter under the hashtag #Nola4Ever.

One of the four northern white rhinoceros left on Earth died yesterday (Nov. 22), leaving only three surviving members of the critically endangered species. Nola, a 41-year-old female rhino, lived at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park since 1989. In recent weeks, Nola suffered from a bacterial infection, and on Nov. 13, the aging animal underwent surgery to drain a large abscess in her pelvic region, which veterinarians finally identified as the source of her sickness. Though the procedure was successful in reducing the infection, Nola's condition grew worse, leaving her without an appetite and unable to move around, according to zoo officials. When intensified treatment efforts were unsuccessful, the animal's caretakers chose to euthanize her yesterday, in what was a "difficult decision," according to a statement released by the San Diego Zoo. [In Photos: The Last Surviving Northern White Rhinos] Nola follows in the footsteps of Nabiré, a 31-year-old female northern white rhino that died of a ruptured cyst in July at the Dv?r Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. The deaths of these two critically endangered animals mean that just three northern white rhinos remain in the world. Habitat loss and poaching have kept the northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) on the brink of extinction for years. The three remaining members of the species reside in captivity at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where they were transferred after living at a zoo in the Czech Republic. The four remaining northern white rhinos that roamed the wild of the Democratic Republic of Congo as recently as 2007 are now presumed dead, which means there are no known members of the species still living in the wild, according to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Of the three endangered rhinos that remain, two are female and one is male. But at 42 years old, the last northern white rhino male, named Sudan, is too old to mount a female, and his sperm quality is poor, researchers from the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research told Live Science in June. The remaining female members of the species, Najin and Fatu, are also unable to reproduce. Najin's age and health problems prevent her from mating, according to Ol Pejeta CEO Richard Vigne. And Fatu, who has never bred, has uterine problems that may prevent her from ever becoming pregnant. However, veterinarians are developing in vitro fertilization (IVF) methods that could one day be used to create northern white rhino embryos. Researchers are attempting to harvest eggs from the remaining female members of the species, as well as sperm from the remaining male. The embryos that may be produced using these sex cells could one day be carried by southern white rhinos, which are close relatives of the northern white rhinos. Copyright 2015 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

"A northern white rhinoceros, one of just four left on Earth, died on Sunday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park after suffering from a bacterial infection and age-related health issues, zoo officials said. Nola, a 41-year-old rhino brought to the Southern California park in 1989 as part of a breeding program, took a turn for the worse over the weekend following a Nov. 13 surgical procedure to drain a large pelvic abscess identified as the infection source, the zoo said in a statement. The 4,000-pound (1,800-kg) rhino had been placed under constant veterinary watch last week as her appetite and activity levels declined. After her condition deteriorated significantly, caretakers decided to euthanize the animal, zoo officials said."

Nola, an aging rhino that had resided at the California zoo park since 1989, had been receiving treatment for a bacterial infection, according to a statement on the zoo's website. She was placed under constant veterinary watch last week as her appetite and activity levels declined. After her condition worsened significantly, caretakers decided to euthanize her, zoo officials said. "Nola was an iconic animal, not only at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, but worldwide," the zoo said. "Through the years, millions of people learned about Nola and the plight of rhinos in the wild through visits to the Safari Park, numerous media stories and social media posts." The three remaining northern white rhinos are at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, the zoo said on Facebook in response to an outpouring of comments from Nola's fans.

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