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A ten year-old program to reintroduce California condors to the wild in the Sierra de San Pedro Martir mountains in Baja California is beginning to take wing, the Latin American Herald Tribune reports.

In 2002 the Los Angeles Zoo donated six of the birds as part of a binational effort between Mexico and the United States to restore the condors’ population in their native environment. Previously, they had not been observed in the local mountains since 1937.

The project has progressed to where it is “at the point of achieving the reproduction of California condors in the wild,” Mexican Environment Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada said in the Herald Tribune.

About $114,000 has been spent on equipment, management, tracking, and rehabilitation of injured condors so far this year. Though the birds have been observed nesting in the wild since 2008, their homes are usually found in caves and thus difficult to track, even though those released carry radio transmitters.

A total of 23 condors now fly free through the mountain range, and the program plans to release six more in the near future.

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