Saticoy is still here at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, in an off-exhibit area being socialized with a large group of condors. We still have not heard whether or not he will be released to the wild, so we are still considering him a release candidate. Geneticists for the California Condor Recovery Program determine the suitability for release for every condor chick that hatches. They take into consideration the chick’s sex, representation at each release site, and genetic value.
Saticoy’s socialization group consists of three other males who hatched this year: Siyi (pronounced “SEE-yee”), Nechuwa (pronounced “neh-CHOO-wah”), and Sukilamu (pronounced “soo-kee-LA-moo”). He is also living with a 1-year-old female named Ihiy (pronounced “EE-hee”), a 2-year-old female named Asha (pronounced AH-sha), a 5-year-old female named Sinya (SIN-yah), and an 8-year-old adult female named Xananan (pronounced “ha-NA-nan”). Xananan is the boss of the group. Her main job is to show the juveniles how to interact in a group. This “mentoring” job is very important in the social development of the younger birds. Birds that are not well socialized before they are released tend to have low survivorship in the wild.
Saticoy has integrated well into this group. He is very social, perching or roosting with just about anybody. Sometimes we see coalitions form among young birds, resulting in these birds only socializing with a few members of the cohort. Saticoy is comfortable with everybody; he seems to be a very confident and adaptable young condor! At feeding time, he defers to the older, more dominant birds, but still remains competitive enough to eat well at every feeding. Sisquoc and Shatash have done another great job in raising a healthy, strong chick.
Soon, we should receive notice of Saticoy’s release status, whether he will stay in one of the breeding facilities or be sent to one of the release sites in California, Arizona, or Mexico. We’ll let you know as soon we hear!