The Condor Question Revisited

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Center for Humans & Nature


Condors went extinct here in the Sierra San Pedro Martir in the 1930s when a rancher’s bullet dropped the final bird. Locally extinct. The towering sugar pines in these northern Baja mountains remember those vultures, as do white firs and the gnarled lodgepoles that roosted relict ghosts for eight lonely decades. The condors have returned now, with considerable help from the San Diego Zoo, but the ghosts of condors past still haunt this sierra. I’m haunted these days as well, troubled by a book written six years prior to the momentous Easter Sunday when the last free condor was captured up north in California. That was the true condor moment, when the species went extinct in the wild. The book was called The Condor Question and was published by a group with a spooky acronym, F.O.E.