Condors Reproduce Without Mating
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Condors, An Endangered Species Reproduce Without Mating

As per an investigation conducted by conservation experts at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, California condors, a critically endangered species, can reproduce without mating.

As part of a regular study of biological samples from the California condors in the zoo’s breeding program, the team discovered that 2 condor chicks had been born from unfertilized eggs.

Cynthia Steiner, Assoc. Director of the alliance’s conservation research division and co-author of the research stated that, to be frank, it was a huge shock. They didn’t anticipate encountering anything like this.

The findings were issued in the Journal of Heredity.

Each condor chick was genetically associated with its mother, but not to a male. The 2 birds are the 1st two confirmed occurrences of asexual reproduction, in the California condor species, according to the zoo.

According to Steiner, this is a very unusual discovery as it is not common in birds in general. So it’s known in other species, such as reptiles and fishes, but it’s extremely rare in birds, especially in wild species.

The discovery, according to Steiner, was especially shocking as both female birds had been frequently housed with fertile male birds and had

previously hatched chicks while mated with a male. Asexual reproduction or parthenogenesis in any bird species where the female bird had access to mating has not been affirmed till now.

She explained that at some point, for some cause, they chose to go into parthenogenesis as well.

Both chicks were underweight when hatched. One was freed into the wild and lived for 2 years, while the other lived in captivity for 8 years.

The California condor is among the earth’s rarest avian species, although, their population is growing. The total number of living condors is approximately 500, with approximately 300 in the wild and 200 in zoos.

Steiner plans to proceed to research parthenogenesis in birds to observe if it persists now that there are more condors in the wild.

She stated that they just want to understand how oftentimes this event might happen now that the number of birds is growing rather than decreasing as it did in the 1980s.


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Keywords: Condors, An Endangered Species Reproduce Without Mating