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California takes steps to protect endangered condors

Officials in California have begun a project to bury power lines in Big Sur in order to prevent electrocution and collision with condors, one of the world's most endangered species. The bird has been threatened since the Gold Rush, San Jose Mercury News reports.

The company will bury nearly three miles of power lines including 46 wooden poles and about 13,000 feet of overhead power lines that were built in the 1950s, according to the news source. Three condors have been killed by the utility lines since 2001, which is a cause for great concern for a species that hit a low of 22 birds in the 1980s.

"Any level of mortality from a single cause like this is a cause for great concern," Kelly Sorenson, executive director of Ventana Wildlife Society, told the news source.

Biologists, working with federal and private funding, have spent $35 million to restore the birds' numbers in recent decades. In 1987, federal biologists captured all remaining condors and bred them in captivity, eventually releasing them back into the wild. Today, 195 live in the wild while another 200 live in captivity.

The Californian reports that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. will be working on the project from August until December.  
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