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San Diego Zoo’s Condor Egg Hatching Can Be Seen Live

A California Condor at the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy.
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Above: A California Condor at the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy.

The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy's Condor Cam is giving the public the first-ever opportunity to see a California condor hatch live today.

The egg began to pip, the process of the chick breaking through the egg shell from the inside, early this morning, according to zoo officials. The pipping period can take 48 to 72 hours until the chick hatches. Viewers might see the chick's beak protruding through the egg shell or the parents gently removing broken eggshell fragments to help the chick emerge.

The public can also suggest a name, in the Chumash language, for the chick by posting it on the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy's Facebook wall or by tweeting it to @sdzglobal and using the hashtag #CondorName. Suggestions will be accepted through March 15. Condor keepers will pick their favorite suggestions and the people who suggested these will receive a special prize. The public will get to vote for their favorite name later this month.

The name must have an important meaning, zoo officials said. The father of the chick is named Sisquoc after the first protected space set aside for this species in 1937 called the Sisquoc Condor Sanctuary in Los Padres National Forest. Sisquoc is a Chumash word that means "in the thick tule."

When Sisquoc and the mother condor, Shatash, were outdoors stretching their wings, Safari Park keepers opened a nest box door that allowed them to quietly retrieve the artificial egg and replace it with the pipping egg. Shatash laid the egg on Jan. 13. As a standard practice at the Safari Park, every condor egg laid is moved to an incubator for safe keeping, and the parents are given an artificial egg to incubate until the egg pips.

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