Condors' Past, Present, and Future

Alvin Cheng

History and Lives of Condors (HLC)

This program will help spread awareness about one of the world's most endangered species' history and lives. It will give readers the background knowledge of condors, such as their early existences, their lives in the past, and also comparing that to its modern day lives. The program will also help people realize the difficulty of surviving as a condor and the threats it is faced with everyday. Life for a condor has no easy days. Think of it as a news channel dedicated specifically to the condors.

The Mission

The goal of (HLC) is to spread awareness about the condors' lives and the possibility of the species becoming extinct. This will show the difficulties and hazards they face, its effect on the natural environment, what is being done to save them, as well as what can be done to save them. Our job is to keep these condors alive and well, as it was in the past. The only way to do this is with the help of humans, the same species that made them endangered. HLC will assist people in restoring the condor race, providing helpful facts about them.

The Protagonist

Rick Walker is a 14 year old juvenile that happens to have had a rough life: "He was angry about ending up in the group home after all his bad luck with the foster homes. He was still angry that his mother hadn't had the character to at least come and meet him after his grandmother died, that he'd never had so much as a photograph to help him form an image of his father," (5-6). Fatherless, motherless, Rick is left alone in the cold world as an orphan after his grandmother passed away when he was only at the age of 10. He is sentenced to 6 months in juvenile detention for throwing rocks at a stop sign, and everything is just going downhill. Rick is all out of forgiveness, and he feels no shame in hating his parents who left him and feels no pity for them. He escapes Blue Canyon, the detention center, and is confronted with a man who later completely changes his life for the better, Lon Peregrino. Lon ultimately saves Rick's life, giving him advice and teaching him values of life since their childhoods were so similar. Lon also teaches Rick about his best friends before Rick entered his life, the condors. Rick begins to gain interest in Lon's companions: "Rick couldn't help it, he'd started to care about the condors himself. Maybe because they were outcasts and the odds were all against them," (100).

Environmental Aspect (Facts)

Condors play an important role in the environment it lives in. Condors are scavengers who feed on dead and rotting meat or must, and they serve a very important role in the ecosystem. Essentially, they are nature's clean-up crew so that there is more open land and space with the absence of dead animals. Their diet consists of dead deer, cattle, sheep, rodents, and rabbits.

Condors can be a feast for your eyes if you're lucky enough to see them. They are the largest bird in all of North America. Their wingspan can reach an incredible nine and a half feet, lengthier than any other bird in the world. Their long wings allow them to fly as high as 15,000 feet! Their colors include white, black, and their head is usually a reddish purple. They are about three to four feet tall, and are expected to live about 60 years.

Unfortunately, condors are close to extinction. There were only two to three dozens of these birds around the 1970's. After many years of thriving on the planet, the population drastically declined. Many of these deaths were caused by poison ingestion and people illegally collecting condors' offspring before they are hatched (eggs). It's nearly impossible to reach the point where condors were in earlier times, one reason being that condors reproduce very slowly. They will breed when they are between six to eight years old, and only hatch about one to three eggs. People are putting efforts forward, as the condor population has grown to approximately 127 of these birds alive in the world.

Inspiration for the Program

Condors play a huge role to Rick Walker. He shows much affection to the birds: "Rick couldn't help himself. Tears were streaming down his face. He realized he was sobbing out loud. He'd never forget what it was like holding that ancient bird in the front seat of the truck, what its beating heart had felt like under his hand," (143). Rick was very upset when Maverick, a condor, was killed by Nuke and Gunderson's pit bull. He naturally began crying from the sadness he felt, even though he only knew the condor for at most a week. He held much hatred against Nuke and Gunderson as well as their pit bull.

Condors have taught Rick a lot about the life he is living. In a way, Rick looked up to condors, the way the would fly fascinated the young man. One day, he flied on a hang glider himself: "The edge of the cliff seemed to rush forward to meet him. He didn't hold back. This was his dream," (149). Rick's first experience of flying was very special to him because of all the dreams he had about doing it. Finally, he was able to live out his dream. Also, for the first time in his hard knock life, he was able to achieve something he really wanted to accomplish, which gave him happiness as well as hope.

Lon Peregrino is the man that introduced condors to Rick, and Lon has taught Rick a handful of lessons about life. He influenced Rick's life by teaching him about forgiveness, since their childhoods were so similar: "Look, I'm not one for giving advice, Rick, but you're a special case. You're so much like who I was, it's scary," (131). Lon didn't want Rick to make the same mistakes he made as a kid, so he changed his life by giving him advice. Rick would apply Lon's lessons later in the book and he is a completely different person: "I was only trying to survive, and I kept running into dead ends. But I don't feel like that anymore, thanks to this man," (225).

Call to Action

To keep condors safe and increasing in numbers, everyday people such as you, the reader, must get involved! Donate a few dollars to science programs that are studying and help keep the condors alive. By just donating your loose change, you can help condors' environments become more safe. Encourage others to do the same, and spread awareness about the species. Hold a public service and tell others to take a very short amount of time out of their day to spread even more awareness.
Big image
This is an average condor, soaring with its large wings in its natural habitat.
Big image
A mother feeding its offspring.
Big image
Seen above is a view of an average condors' habitat.