SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— For the first time ever a California condor is being cared for at the Oakland Zoo’s new Condor Recovery Center. The new facility makes it possible for Northern California to take part in saving this endangered species instead of having to ship the endangered birds to Los Angeles’ zoo.

Associate veterinarian at the Oakland center, Dr. Andrea Goodnight, said a 16-pound female bird arrived last Thursday and was found in Pinnacles National Park by biologists who test the species prone to picking up lead poisoning through their food.

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“They’re scavengers these guys. They’re kind of like vultures. They’re the garbage collectors for the environment,” said Goodnight.

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The lead can come from animal carcasses the bird eats like deer or squirrels, which people tend to shoot. Goodnight said the Northern California facility is important because more condors are being released and that they’ve started to migrate from Southern California.

“It’s much easier and less stress on the birds for them to come to Oakland, which is only about two or three hours from Big Sur, whereas L.A.’s zoo is about a five or six hour or more drive depending on traffic,” she said.

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If injections prove successful in helping to remove the lead, Goodnight said the condor could be released back into the wild by the end of the week.