WASHINGTON — In a continued effort to restore the iconic California condor population, the National Park Foundation and the Pinnacles National Park Foundation announced today the donation of much-needed GPS satellite tags to Pinnacles National Park, thanks to a generous equipment donation from Microwave Telemetry, Inc. This effort is part of the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks. To date, this comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of America’s treasured national parks has raised nearly $500 million in private donations from individuals, foundations, and companies.
“Microwave Telemetry’s donation helps move the California Condor Recovery Program forward in a significant way,” said Katherine Chesson, vice president of grants and programs at the National Park Foundation. “Partnerships like this enable the national parks community to protect majestic wildlife.”
Due to a number of factors, including lead poisoning, the California condor was close to extinction in the 1980s, reaching a low of 22 individuals. Over the last several decades, conservationists and scientists have committed themselves to saving the condor from extinction and reintroducing birds to the wild. As of December 2017, there are 435 condors both in the wild and in captivity. While this is good news, condors are still endangered due to high mortality from lead poisoning.
“Our company was founded and exists on the premise that high-tech electronics can enable and facilitate conservation,” said Lucy Howey, an owner and Scientific Liaison at Microwave Telemetry. “As one of the few remaining organizations that designs and manufactures our devices entirely in the USA, it seems fitting that our company would team up with those aiming to protect one of our country’s most iconic and imperiled bird species.”
“Microwave Telemetry actually designed this specialized model transmitter for the near-extinct condor in the 1990s,” said Paul Howey, founder and president at Microwave Telemetry. “This natural partnership truly celebrates many years of collaborative innovation focused on the species recovery.”
Over thirty organizations and agencies have been committed to saving the species. In addition to Pinnacles National Park, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventana Wildlife Society, The World Center for Predatory Birds, San Diego Zoo and the Mexican government all manage sites from where condors reared in captivity are released into the wild. The collaborative nature of the California Condor Recovery Program is one of the keys to its success, along with public education and volunteers. At Pinnacles, close collaboration with the Pinnacles National Park Foundation has increased the number of volunteers monitoring condors at the park. The gift from Microwave Telemetry of GPS tags will bring great efficiencies to the park and our partners. The tags will help biologists locate condors quickly, and understand their movements, behavior, and health — all of which ultimately aid in their recovery.
With continued threats to their recovery due to lead poisoning, monitoring condors is still a critical task for our biologists. The gift of GPS satellite tags brings great efficiency to the park’s condor program and can also help speed condor recovery through effective management,” said Rachel Wolstenholme, Pinnacles Condor Program Manager.
The Pinnacles National Park Foundation has contributed more than $25,000 towards the Pinnacles Condor Recovery program, supporting volunteers, GPS tracking, and the purchase of equipment.
“This gift from Microwave Telemetry significantly enhances efforts to restore the California condor on the central coast of California. We appreciate the assistance of the National Park Foundation to facilitate our work with Microwave Telemetry,” said Jennifer Westphal, Executive Director of the Pinnacles National Park Foundation.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
Celebrating 50 years, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and ENGAGE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.
ABOUT THE PINNACLES NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The Pinnacles National Park Foundation is the official nonprofit philanthropic partner dedicated to supporting Pinnacles National Park. Since 2006, we have worked to inspire charitable giving towards high priority programs and projects unfunded by park budgets that meet our mission of ensuring excellence in education, resource stewardship, and visitor experiences at Pinnacles National Park. These projects protect and enhance the Park’s natural and cultural resources and foster their stewardship in perpetuity. Originally formed as Pinnacles Partnership, the name Pinnacles National Park Foundation was adopted in mid-2017 to more succinctly express the Foundation’s role in light of Pinnacles new status as a National Park. Visit us at www.pinnaclesfoundation.org to find out more and join us in support of Pinnacles National Park.
ABOUT MICROWAVE TELEMETRY, INC.
Located in Columbia, Maryland, Microwave Telemetry, Inc. has been providing satellite-tracking technology for avian and marine scientists since 1991. Research using their technology has aided in the conservation and management of dozens of species worldwide. For more information, visit their website at www.microwavetelemetry.com