Condor Chick Named!

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Six-year-old condor lover Hend with her condor plush, Sophie

We were blown away by the amount of thoughtful name submissions we got on Facebook and Twitter for the California condor chick growing before our eyes on Condor Cam. We were also surprised by the outpouring of support we got for our conservation efforts. Some participants even shared touching stories about condors and why it’s so important to save them from extinction. One such story was from the person who suggested the winning name, Emma Apple.

When Emma posted her name suggestion, Saticoy, she mentioned that her six-year-old daughter, Hend, is a huge condor lover. “She teaches everyone she meets about their plight,” Emma wrote, “She wants to be a ‘Condor Rescuer’ when she grows up.”

It’s not every day that we hear of a six-year-old with such an infatuation for an animal that isn’t typically thought of as cute and cuddly, so we had to know more. “People are always surprised at this little girl’s passion for these (oft perceived as) ugly [birds],” Emma wrote. “Ever since learning of their plight in a documentary about the Grand Canyon a couple of years ago, she’s just been completely enamored by them. I think she’s the coolest. How many pink-loving, 6-year-old condor fanatics are there?”

We agree. Hend is the coolest. When asked why she thinks it’s important to save animals from extinction, Hend replied “Because there would be no more and it was too late for dinosaurs and my brother loves dinosaurs. If there was an important species that’s endangered and they were extinct, we wouldn’t get the things that they give us.” Well said.When Emma told Hend that her name suggestion was the winner, Hend apparently shouted “This is one more step to being a Condor Rescuer!” and continued to release her plush condor named Sophie (after Sophie Osborn, who wrote a book about condors) “back into the wild” all evening. We were told that her condor plush has died of lead poisoning, been nursed back to health and been released back into the wild many times, so the one that comes as a prize will be in good hands.

Hend’s love for saving these beautiful birds gives us hope for the future. If every kid her age shared just a fraction of her passion, we would be in good hands. Thanks to everyone for posting name suggestions and voting for our condor chick’s name. We’re lucky to have such engaged supporters. Stay tuned to Condor Cam to watch little Saticoy grow up!

Matt Steele is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read his previous post, Rhino Poaching Increases at Alarming Rate in 2011.