Soon, the California condor will soar throughout it’s native homeland.
The northern California-based Yurok Tribe was recently granted permission to release condors bred in captivity back into their native lands of the Redwood Coast, according to The Associated Press (AP).
Tribal biologist Chris West said that the first releases of the birds could come in the next one to three years. At this time, seven sites are under consideration on Redwood National and State Parks, along with private lands within 50 miles of each other, just south of the Klamath River, according to Fox News.
Experts place the number of California condors worldwide at just 400; the bird once roamed from the Pacific Coast to Mexico to Canada.
They plan to release condors in a test to see if the area can sustain the endangered birds. The first condors should be sent out in the next one to three years, and officials are looking at seven sites as options. The spots under consideration include land in Redwood National and State Parks and stretches of private land.
The tribes plan to gather private funding for the project since federal funding like won’t be available. The initiative will likely cost around $400,000, tribal biologist Chris West told the AP.
Along with being sacred in Yorok tradition, the condor is important for its feathers, which are worn during tribal dances.
“When a species like condor or eagle gives you material for your regalia, it is considered their spirit is in that, too. They are singing with you, and praying with you,” tribal microbiologist Tiana Williams told the AP. “We can get feathers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but it’s not the same thing as being able to go out there and collect the feathers we need from condors flying over our own skies.”