Condor's Guardians and Protectors

All about C.G.P.

We have three main parts to our program here at C.G.P: 1. Rescuing the condors. 2. Nourishing and taking care of the condors. 3. Educating the Condors. The first priority of C.G.P. is to prevent condors from being driven extinct. The foundation sets up rescue teams and these people travel to different places that are known for their unstable conditions for condors. The rescue teams receive special training so that they can get a condor to come without harming them. They spend a solid week locating these condors and then they bring them back to our facility. At C.G.P we also have people specialized in giving birds a great education. These people teach the condors how to fly, roost, reproduce, find food to eat and sources of water to drink, and help them discover who their predators are. Basically, our education staff teaches the condors everything they need to survive and have a happy life. Finally, our program focuses on caring for these birds. A group of people trained in the medical field help heal a wound if a condor is injured. They also feed and help the condors find a place to sleep until they are ready to care for themselves. Overall, C.G.P. is a very successful program.

Our goal

Our main goal here at C.G.P. is to rescue and rebuild the condor population from near extinction. We want to show the world the amazing white and black bird that can fly miles and miles. This dream cannot be accomplished without the help of the people here at C.G.P. All the work that we do is only for the condors; it is entirely volunteer work, and it is for people who really want to make our world a better place. It would be a dream come true if in about a few decades, the condor species was thriving.

Rick Walker

Rick Walker is the founder of C.G.P. Two years after Rick was born in San Jose, California, his parents had left him. He says, "My mother never called, never wrote, ever," (126). The beginning of Rick Walker's life was very tough for him, until his Grandmother stepped in and decided to raise him. She was a very caring person, and taught Rick many things, until she got very sick and could not care for him anymore. When his grandma died by the time he was ten, Rick was alone, and on the run: “I’ve been like a rat in a maze,”’ (224). Rick was stuck in his life, and wherever he turned, he could never find his way. After failing to fit in with any of his five foster homes, Rick went four years living by himself. When he was fourteen, Rick was accused of throwing rocks at a stop sign and shoplifting and got sent to the Blue Canyon Detention Center for six months. He escaped the prison before his sentence was up, and that is what led his journey into the maze. Once Rick met Lon, a biologist, and learned about the condors, he discovered this is where he belonged. He thought the idea of flight and birds were spectacular, and he wanted to dedicate his life to it. That is what influenced Rick Walker and got him to the place he is today.

The Magnificent Condors

Our program is based on the magnificent California condor. Condors are the largest bird in all of North America having a wing-span of nine and a half feet, averaging a height of 50 inches, and having an average weight of 17-25 pounds. They are usually identified by their black feathers, white underwings, and reddish-purple bald head. Condors live in rocky or forested habitats, such as gorges, canyons, and mountains. They are more likely to appear in western North America, because those regions have more resources needed for the condors. These birds are carnivores and eat the carcasses, or remains, of large dead animals such as deer, cattle and sheep. They often travel a total of 150 miles to capture one meal, which is more than the average bird. If the conditions are stable, a condor can live up to a healthy 45-80 years, usually an average of 60 years. Condors will often reproduce in caves or tree holes in the winter or spring. They lay one egg once every other year, so baby chicks can be born at a decent rate. With the news that new condors are being born at a steady pace and the help from C.G.P. we have hope that the condor population can thrive once again.

The Inspiration

Rick Walker, the founder, had a huge connection with the condors and it inspired him to save their population from extinction. Rick had always wanted to fly like the condors: "He knew all about the intoxication of flight from way back, from a dream that had come almost nightly," (15). Before he even knew about condors, he knew he wanted to get involved with flying himself or something that could fly. When Rick first saw condors spread their wings and fly with such beauty, it had so much meaning to him. He always wanted to know what flying was like ever since he was a kid, and now it was right in front of him, close and personal. Nothing could be more important to him than protecting an endangered bird that holds his dream of flight. Letting that bird go extinct would not be following Rick's dream in life.

Not only did Rick connect to the birds in such a meaningful way, but the condors had influenced Rick's life completely. Before Rick spent time with the condors, his life was a mess: "A maze was nothing new to him. He'd been trapped in one for a long, long time," (59). He never knew what to do next or where to go. When his Grandma died, Rick thought of living alone. But where would he go? When Rick was serving his sentence in Blue Canyon Youth Detention Center, he thought of escaping. But what would he do after? It was as if, "His life was nothing but an endless succession of dead ends," (41). He was lost and had nowhere to go or anyone to help him along the way.

However, that all changed when Rick met Lon and learned about the condors. Right from his first day, Rick had realized he was passionate about condors. He was always very intrigued when Lon taught him about the condors and always got excited when they were studying the birds. The condors gave Rick a passion or an idea of how he wanted to spend his life. When one of the condors, Maverick, was killed by pothunters that Rick realized he wanted to dedicate his life to saving these condors: "He focused all his anger and all his hate on them. He only wished there was a way to avenge the condor on them," (144). The condors gave Rick something to live for and stand up for, and they helped him discover who he was as a person. After struggling for fourteen years, these birds had helped Rick find his way: "I'm out of that maze now, sir. I'm free to make something of myself," (225). That "something" was to join forces with Lon and help rebuild the condor population. The great connection with condors, as well as the great impact they had on Rick's life, is what inspired him to start the C.G.P. foundation. And our world has benefited from it.

Call to Action

Although C.G.P. is doing a superb job rescuing the condors, you can help out too. Even though it sounds very simplistic, one of the best ways to help save these condors is to spread awareness about the subject. Go visit your local library or research online to gather more information about condors. Then, talk to your family and friends about the disturbing news, or write a newspaper article informing people about the issue. A lot of people are not aware that condors are facing extinction. You can also preserve the condor population by making sure not to disturb their habitats. If you ever visit one of their habitats, such as a gorge or a canyon, make sure to be very careful and not cause damage to the area around you. Even though it does not seem like much, the condors all benefit very much from your care and concern. Lastly, you can join our family here at C.G.P. We're always open to new volunteers who are dedicated to our cause. It would be awesome to see you helping save an animal from extinction. You would be a hero. With everyone getting active and trying to make an impact, I truly believe we can build the condor population back up and make the world a better place.