Watch Endangered California Condor Chick in the Hills Above Fillmore Live on "Condor Cam"

People across the world can get up-close-and-personal with an endangered California condor chick in real-time through live streaming video of a cliff-side nest in a canyon on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County.

California condor chick #980 hatched on April 10. Its parents are nine-year-old female condor #563 and 19-year-old male condor #262. This is the pair’s first nesting attempt together and their first year on the livestreaming Condor Cam as a pair. This is female condor #563’s second attempt at raising a chick, and the chick’s father, condor #262, fledged one other chick in the past with a previous mate.

Followers of the California Condor Cam watched a chick hatch live in the wild for the first time in history from another cliff-side nest on Hopper Mountain NWR in 2015. Since then, livestreaming video of California condor chicks have gained worldwide attention – attracting hundreds of thousands of viewers from all over the world.

Female California condor 563 stands over her newly hatched chick on April 10 in a nest cavity now fitted with a live-streaming video camera in the Pole Canyon area of the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. Bluish colored egg fragments are visible. Credit: Pacific Southwest Region USFWS.

Female California condor 563 stands over her newly hatched chick on April 10 in a nest cavity now fitted with a live-streaming video camera in the Pole Canyon area of the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. Bluish colored egg fragments are visible. Credit: Pacific Southwest Region USFWS.

“Today’s technology allows researchers like us to observe nests in remote locations without having to trek into the backcountry and wait for days, sometimes weeks, at observation blinds for a glimpse of the condors,” says Dr. Estelle Sandhaus, the Santa Barbara Zoo’s director of conservation and science. “With this live stream, the public can share in the thrill of seeing these rare and highly endangered birds care for their chick, and follow its development before it takes its first flight. What was once only seen by a few scientists is now available to anyone with an internet connection.”

In California, wild condors nest, roost or fly in the mountains of Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Kern, Tulare and Fresno counties, and the western Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The 2018 nesting season was a record-breaking one, with 12 nests in the mountains of Ventura, Santa Barbara and Kern counties. Six of those nests were successful, the most ever in the Southern California flock.

“The success of last year’s nesting season was really monumental for the condor recovery program and a testament to the hard work of all the partners involved in this effort,” said Nicole Weprin, wildlife biologist with the Service’s California Condor Recovery Program. “We’re hopeful for another successful nesting season this year, and thrilled that the public can share in our excitement by watching the Condor Cam.”

The number of California condors dropped dramatically in the mid-20th century, leading the Service to designate the species as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. By 1982 there were only 22 of the iconic birds left in the wild. Today, due to intensive, ongoing captive breeding and recovery efforts led by the Service in conjunction with multiple public and private partners, the California condor population has grown to just under 490 birds worldwide, with more than half of the population flying free.

Today the number one killer of California condors is lead poisoning, caused by condors feeding on carcasses containing lead bullet fragments. Peer-reviewed research shows that lead poisoning is a serious health problem for both wildlife and humans, and the Service is working with partner organizations and the hunting community as it transitions to the use of non-lead ammunition alternatives. Hunters are continuing their proud tradition of wildlife conservation by using these non-lead alternatives.

Another threat specific to condor chicks is “micro trash.” Micro trash are small coin-sized trash items such as, nuts, bolts, washers, copper wire, plastic, bottle caps, glass, and spent ammunition cartridges. Condor parents collect these items and feed them to their chick, which can cause serious problems with the chick’s development. While it is not completely understood why this occurs, many biologists believe that the condor parents mistake these items for pieces of bone and shell which provides a source of calcium if fed to the chick.

Conservation efforts toward the recovery of the California condor are achieved only through partnerships amongst federal and state agencies, together with private landowners and organizations. The Pole Canyon Condor Cam is made possible through access provided by private landowners, and through the financial and technical support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Santa Barbara Zoo, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, and Friends of California Condors Wild and Free.

"The condor cams are unlike any other offering on the internet. Each year we've streamed from a different site and pair, and the differences among all these nests and individuals have given viewers a unique opportunity to understand more of the richness and variability of the condor's life history,” said Charles Eldermire, Cornell Lab Bird Cams project leader. “That's not just good for viewers—it's good for the condors, too.”

To watch the Condor Cam, visit: www.allaboutbirds.org/condors

For answers to frequently asked questions about the nest cam, the parents and the chick, visit: www.fws.gov/cno/es/CalCondor/CondorCam.html

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/cno or connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at birds.cornell.edu

The Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres of botanic gardens and is home to more than 500 individual animals in open, naturalistic habitats. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), representing the highest level of animal care, and participates in AZA cooperative programs for endangered species including Asian elephant, California condor, Channel Island fox, and Western lowland gorilla, among others. Visit www.sbzoo.org.

The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology (WFVZ) is both a natural history collection specializing in eggs and nests of birds from all over the world, and a research and education institution dedicated to studying and teaching about the conservation of the world’s bird species. The WFVZ has contributed information to thousands of research projects since its inception in 1956. Visit us at www.wfvz.org, and on Facebook and Instagram.

IRS and FTB Deadline for Filing 2018 Taxes for California Wildfire County Residents Extended to April 30, 2019

For tax return procrastinators out there. Did you know...that the IRS has automatically extended the deadline for 2018 tax returns and payments that would normally be due by April 15, to April 30 this year, as a result of the November 2018 Wildfires. This applies to anyone residing within Ventura, Los Angeles and Butte counties, regardless of if you were directly impacted by the fires.

More information on the IRS website at www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-for-victims-of-november-8-wildfires-in-california.

The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief based on zip codes provided by FEMA. FEMA proclaimed a major disaster as a result of the Camp, Hill and Woolsey fires on November 12, 2018 in DR-4407. See www.fema.gov/disaster/4407 for more information.

The California Franchise Tax Board followed suit . They indicate at www.ftb.ca.gov/individuals/disaster.shtml how to notate your tax return to reflect the fire impacted you.

Thousand Oaks Farmers' Market to Return to Former Site in East End Parking Lot on March 28th

The Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association has cancelled the relocation of the Thousand Oaks Certified Farmers’ Market to the West Side of The Oaks Shopping Center after fire department officials deemed that the site did not meet the current safety standards for emergencies and traffic control.

Although the grand opening did take place last Thursday on March 21, officials determined after an on-site visit that the new location would not meet safety requirements. “Even though we were looking forward to this new site, we absolutely want the market to be safe and accessible,” stated Karen Schott, Operations Manager for the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association (VCCFMA). “We thank everyone who supported our “dress rehearsal” and we will continue to operate every Thursday bringing the best of California agriculture while we regroup,” she continued. “The new market hours of 12 noon to 5 p.m. did work out well and we will keep these hours when we move back to our previous location,” added Schott.

According to officials of the VCCFMA and The Oaks Shopping Center, the market will return to its former site and construction will be delayed until a new farmers’ market site can be determined on the mall grounds later in the year. The Thousand Oaks Certified Market is returning to its former site in the East End Parking Lot at Wilbur Road starting on Thursday, March 28, 2019 and will be operating with its new hours of 12 noon to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 805-529-6266, or visit the website at www.vccfarmersmarkets.com.

Santa Barbara Zoo Announces Bradley The Golden Retriever, the Zoo's First Ambassador Dog

Bradley, the Santa Barbara Zoo’s first Ambassador Dog.

Bradley, the Santa Barbara Zoo’s first Ambassador Dog.

The Santa Barbara Zoo announced today that its latest addition is a ten-month old Golden Retriever named Bradley, who is in training to be the Zoo’s first Ambassador Dog.

As Ambassador Dog, Bradley’s overall duty “is to connect with Zoo guests so they can understand and care about all animals, especially those in the wild animals.”

“Bradley can connect with people in ways many of our other animals can’t,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Care & Health. “If people care about animals, then they are more likely to want to save them in the wild by preserving habitat, making sustainable choices, and other actions we talk about here at the Zoo.”

Dr. Barnes reports that Bradley is still young, so the training is takes place at his pace and is going quite well.

Bradley with Kristen Wieners

Bradley with Kristen Wieners

If it goes as hoped, Bradley will eventually participate in keeper talks on subjects like responsible pet choices and animal training using positive reinforcement. He may be involved in education programs such as Zoo Camp. He might provide outreach to local schools, retirement homes, hospitals, and elsewhere.

“Though they might catch sight of him with his handlers and wearing his ‘In Training’ vest, Bradley is not ready to meet the public,” adds Barnes. “Currently, we tell people not to make a special visit to the Zoo just to see him. He’s rarely visible and not on a regular schedule.”

About Bradley’s Training

As with the Zoo’s other animal residents, Bradley is trained using positive reinforcement, meaning he is rewarded for good behaviors and following instructions, and ignored or redirected for negative behaviors. The Zoo has retained a professional dog trainer who works with Bradley most days and is training specific staff to work with him as well.

“The goal is to guide him into making the right choices on his own,” says Dr. Barnes. “The training is currently going well, but will last as long as needed. Some training will continue indefinitely, to keep Bradley engaged as an ambassador dog.”

About Bradley

Bradley is an English Cream Golden Retriever who was born on May 12, 2018. The “English Cream” refers to the light color of his fur. His original family lived in Northridge and had him as a young puppy. A family member’s unexpected medical development made it impossible for them to care for a puppy. The Zoo adopted him when he was nine months old.

“Zoo staff spent six months visiting dog rescue facilities and following leads for a dog with the right temperament to be trained as our ambassador,” said Dr. Barnes. “Bradley has what we were looking for.”

Bradley lives at the Zoo. It is hoped that he will eventually make visits to local schools, retirement homes, hospitals, and community events, but that depends on his training.

His sleeping area is in a heated office. The Zoo’s security guard checks on him several times during the night and gives Bradley toilet breaks. Bradley has a fenced exercise and play area on Cabrillo Lawn, across from Cats of Africa. There he is allowed to run free and play, and have play dates with specially selected dogs. During breaks from training, Bradley also has “Sniff Time” while on the leash, when he is allowed to follow his nose and explore the Zoo.

“Zoo animals are not unfamiliar with dogs, as service dogs sometimes accompany guests,” says Dr. Barnes. “However, his presence does help reinforce that the sight or smell of a dog is normal. So far, Bradley has responded well to zoo animals by remaining calm in their presence. Acclimating him to the other animals that live at the zoo is part of his training.”

Bradley is sponsored by a local family that wishes to remain anonymous and is recognized at the Zoo simply as “Jackson and Alaia.”

Dogs in Zoos

Ambassador dogs are not uncommon in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The Oklahoma Zoo debuted canine animal ambassador Max, a two-year-old terrier mix, in summer 2018. Other zoos with ambassador dogs include the Denver Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (Tacoma, Washington) and Rosamond Gifford Zoo (Syracuse New York).

While dogs are sometimes used as companion animals for specific species, Bradley does not go into any animal enclosures.

The Santa Barbara Zoo provided dog companions for African lion cub Kiki when she was being hand-raised in 2004. The San Diego Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo, and Metro Richmond Zoo, among others, have had companion dogs for cheetah cubs.

The Santa Barbara Zoo

Known as one of the world’s most beautiful zoos, the Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres of botanic gardens and is home to nearly 500 individual animals in open, naturalistic habitats. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), representing the highest level of animal care, and participates in AZA endangered species programs for Asian elephant, California condor, island fox, and Western lowland gorilla, among others. A private 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the Santa Barbara Zoo depends on community support, not tax dollars, for operations and improvements. Visit www.sbzoo.org

The Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; general admission $18 for adults, $13 for seniors 64+, $11 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2. Parking is $11.

Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month "Spotlight Myeloma" Skylight is Back Again at Amgen in Thousand Oaks March 17-29

Spotlight Myeloma Skylight from Amgen’s corporate headquarters (Photo Credit: L. David Irete).

Spotlight Myeloma Skylight from Amgen’s corporate headquarters (Photo Credit: L. David Irete).

Flashback to March 2018…there was a blue beam shining into the sky in Newbury Park for a number of nights and I was determined to find the source. I found it! The beam was coming from our local biotech powerhouse Amgen. The bright blue nightly beam was part of Amgen’s month-long “Spotlight Myeloma” initiative as part of Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month.

March 2019 once again is Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month, a time to recognize the patients, caregivers and healthcare providers who work courageously to improve the daily lives of patients living with this incurable blood cancer. Once again, Amgen will be shining a nightly beam into the sky; this year’s burgundy beam will shine March 17-29.

Although it’s the second most common blood cancer, multiple myeloma is rare. It’s estimated that only 32,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with the disease this year.

Thousand Oaks Farmers' Market to Move to New Location at The Oaks Shopping Center March 21st

UPDATE 3/26/19: NEVER MIND! Due to traffic control and safety concerns from fire officials, the market has been moved back to the east parking lot as of 3/28/19 (at least for the time being).

Thousand Oaks Move.JPG

The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market held at the The Oaks Shopping Center will soon have a new location and new market hours. The Thousand Oaks market, operated by the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association (VCCFMA), will move from its existing site at the east end parking lot on Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard to the West Side Delivery Lane between The Oaks parking structure and the main food court entrance. The move will take place starting on Thursday, March 21 and the new hours will run from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

“We are looking forward to moving into a more convenient location for our customers,” stated Karen Schott, Operations Manager for the VCCFMA. “Shoppers will have access to ample parking within the parking structure and the nearby lower level parking lots, allowing for easier access to the market,” continued Schott. “In addition, we hope to introduce the market to a new audience with the Children’s Area and Food Court immediately adjacent to this new location,” she added.

For more information, call 805-529-6266, or visit www.vccfarmersmarkets.com.

About the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association

The Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association serves the community of Ventura with two Markets -- Wednesdays at the Pacific View Mall, front west parking lot on Main Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Saturdays in Downtown Ventura on the corners of East Santa Clara and Palm Streets from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market is held Thursdays at The Oaks Shopping Center at the east end parking lot, Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m. Santa Clarita Farmers’ Market is held on Sundays at the College of the Canyons, parking lot 5 on Valencia Boulevard from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market held at the Oaks Shopping Center will soon have a new location and new market hours. The Thousand Oaks market, operated by the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association (VCCFMA), will move from its former site at the east end parking lot on Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard to the West Side Delivery Lane between the Oaks Parking Structure and the Main Food Court Entrance. The move will take place starting on Thursday, March 21 and the new hours will run from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

“We are looking forward to moving into a more convenient location for our customers,” stated Karen Schott, Operations Manager for the VCCFMA. “Shoppers will have access to ample parking within the parking structure and the nearby lower level parking lots, allowing for easier access to the market,” continued Schott. “In addition, we hope to introduce the market to a new audience with the Children’s Area and Food Court immediately adjacent to this new location,” she added.

For more information, call 805-529-6266, or visit the website at www.vccfarmersmarkets.com.

About the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association

The Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association serves the community of Ventura with two Markets -- Wednesdays at the Pacific View Mall, front west parking lot on Main Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Saturdays in Downtown Ventura on the corners of East Santa Clara and Palm Streets from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market is held Thursdays at The Oaks Shopping Center at the east end parking lot, Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m. Santa Clarita Farmers’ Market is held on Sundays at the College of the Canyons, parking lot 5 on Valencia Boulevard from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon.

Segments of the Backbone Trail Re-Open Today, Four Months After Woolsey Fire

A portion of the Backbone Trail managed by the National Park Service in Malibu reopened today, along with the popular Grotto Trail in the Circle X area.

The majority of the 67-mile Backbone Trail is now open, with the exception of a four-mile stretch from Yerba Buena Road to the Mishe Mokwa Trailhead and a six-mile stretch from the Kanan Trailhead east to the Corral Canyon Trailhead. Large portions of the trail have been closed since the Woolsey Fire destroyed 88% of federal parkland in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area last November.

Backbone Trail repair work (Photo Courtesy of National Park Service)

Backbone Trail repair work (Photo Courtesy of National Park Service)

“Our small trails crew, assisted on some days by our valuable partners, which include members of the California Conservation Corps, Camp 13 and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, did a phenomenal job in restoring these trails,” said David Szymanski, superintendent of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “An especially rainy season hindered the work and created a variety of additional hazards, but these folks really came through and made it happen.”

Other trails and areas in the park still closed include Solstice Canyon and trails in Zuma/Trancas Canyons.

All official trails in Circle X Ranch, one of the park’s most remote and scenic locations, are now open ,including the Mishe Mokwa Loop, Sandstone Peak Trail, and the Tri Peaks Trail. Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyons, Paramount Ranch, Rancho Sierra Vista and the Santa Monica Mountains Visitor Center at King Gillette Ranch are also open.

Click here to see photos of the extensive post-fire work (including some before and after photos) that was done to mitigate safety issues caused by “hazard trees” (trees that were badly burned in the fire and are susceptible to falling), eroded trails and warped, burned culverts. Tasks included clearing trails of hazardous rocks, branches and sticks and reestablishing trail pads by spreading any slough that fell from the hillsides onto a trail and finding large rocks and dirt to fill deep ruts that cut directly across trails.

Although these areas are open, there is a closure order for all burned areas that restricts the public to the trails only. Visitors are being asked to stay on trails and be aware that numerous safety hazards still exist. Hikers going off trail can cause more damage to newly restored trails, trample new plants, and prevent the re-growth of fragile vegetation.

The NPS trail crew collaborated on multiple sections of the Backbone Trail with local members of the California Conservation Corps and Camp 13, the only all-female, Malibu-based fire camp in Los Angeles that occasionally assists with trail work. The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council also helped repair a portion of the Backbone Trail section along Kanan Road in Zuma Canyon.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area boasts a network of approximately 500 miles of trails.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) is the largest urban national park in the country, encompassing more than 150,000 acres of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. A unit of the National Park Service, it comprises a seamless network of local, state and federal parks interwoven with private lands and communities. As one of only five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world, SMMNRA preserves the rich biological diversity of more than 450 animal species and 26 distinct plant communities. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/samo.

City of Camarillo Provides Free Trolley Bus Service Seven Days a Week

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The City of Camarillo provides free trolley bus service Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m.

The service provides convenient, air-conditioned, nostalgic transportation to Camarillo retail and dining destinations. Accommodations for persons with disabilities are provided.

The trolley bus route starts at the Metrolink train station, runs west on Daily Drive, south down Las Posas Road, and then east on Ventura Boulevard back to the Metrolink station. Here are the stops and the minutes the trolley reaches each stop after each hour and half hour:

  • Metrolink (Camarillo Train Station) (0 min)

  • Ponderosa Center (next to 99 Cent Store) (4 min)

  • Camarillo Plaza (Daily Dr west of Murray Ave) (7 min)

  • Carmen Plaza (Daily and Carmen) (9 min)

  • Las Posas Plaza (Daily and Calle La Roda) (11 min)

  • Camarillo Town Center (between Ross and Walmart) (17 min)

  • Premium Outlets Promenade (Ventura Blvd) (20 min)

  • Premium Outlets Main Court (Ventura Blvd and Camarillo Center Dr) (22 min)

  • Old Town (Ventura Blvd and Fir St) (27 min)

  • Dizdar Park and Camarillo Chamber (29 min)

  • Metrolink (30 min)

The trolley stops at shopping centers all along the route on a 30 minute schedule. Riders can also flag down the trolley to board anywhere along the route.

Where IS the trolley at any given point in time!? Well you can get that answer on the Trolley Tracker at www.camarillotrolley.com. How cool is that?

Call 805.988-4CAT for more information.

www.cityofcamarillo.org/residents/public_transportation/camarillo_trolley2.php