In 1982, there were only 22 wild California condors in California. That's when the Fish & Wildlife Service started a captive breeding program intended to increase the size of the population. By 1987 all wild condors had been captured and placed into the breeding program. None remained in the wild. Releases began in California in 1991 and near the Grand Canyon in 1996.1 (More details available, as always, at Wikipedia).
Image via Wikipedia
Last Wednesday, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced that there are now 100 California condors in the wild in California (posting on Greenspace). A hundred birds in the wild isn't enough to call the population secure, but it is an encouraging sign. We can bring species back from the brink of extinction -- if we are willing to invest in the effort.
1I've seen condors flying free over the Grand Canyon. It is a magnificent sight.