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A new 22-year-old Andean condor named Andy D. can now be seen at Denver Zoo's Andean condor exhibit just west of Bird World. Andy joined Denver Zoo's resident condor Evita under the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Species Survival Plan (SSP) which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. So far zookeepers say they get along very well. This species is accustomed to cold weather and can be seen all winter long.
"Denver Zoo has had success breeding this species in the past and things with Andy and Evita seem to be going well. Andy frequently can be seen displaying to Evita by holding out his huge wings, arching his neck and turning in circles so Evita can get a good look. Hopefully, she likes what she sees and they'll have chicks," says Denver Zoo Curator of Birds John Azua.
Andean condors in the wild can live to be 50 or 60 and even older sometimes in zoos. This species is the largest raptor with a wingspan of up to 10.5 feet making them the largest flying bird. The males and females differ in appearance in that the females have red eyes and a smooth head where as males have yellow eyes and a very wrinkly appearing head with a caruncle or fleshy node on top the head and wattle on the neck. The males develop that caruncle in the egg and you can tell the sex right when they hatch because of that difference. This species is from the high mountains Andes mountains of South America.
The Andean condor population size is Near Threatened and is decreasing in size according to IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature. Evita has already been helping in the conservation of this species. She has had four offspring total and two of them are now in the wild in the Andes. The other two are in U.S. institutions like the Denver Zoo helping raise awareness of their species as ambassadors. Denver Zoo is hopeful Andy D. and Evita will have chicks of their own in the near future.