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Evaluating how California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) live alongside a changed wildfire regime

Authors: Darren Gross*, Department of Geology and Geography, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA, Melissa Braham, Department of Geology and Geography, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA; Conservation Science Global, Inc., 303 West Drive, West Cape May, NJ 08204, USA, Aaron Maxwell, Department of Geology and Geography, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA, Jonathan Hall, Department of Geology and Geography, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA, Molly Astell, US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2493 Portola Rd. Suite A, Ventura, California 93003, USA, Joseph Brandt, US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2493 Portola Rd. Suite B, Ventura, California 93003, USA, Todd Katzner, US Geological Survey, Snake River Field Station, 970 Lusk St., Boise, ID 83706, USA, Maitreyi Sur, Conservation Science Global, Inc., 303 West Drive, West Cape May, NJ 08204, USA
Topics: Animal Geographies, Biogeography
Keywords: California Condor, fire, conservation
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) has been heavily managed to support its survival in the anthropogenically altered landscape it occupies. One major change that these birds have experienced since the arrival of European settlers is an altered disturbance regime of increased wildfire intensity and frequency in California that may threaten condor survival. Here, we use GPS data collected from free-flying California condors and spatial data from fires to determine if there is a significant relationship between burned regions and condor activity. To accomplish this, we built a linear mixed model that evaluates the relationship between proximity to fire perimeters and density of condor GPS locations. Preliminary results suggest that landscapes in which condors are most active either have been burned in the past six years, or are close enough to be within the home range of individual condors. This project will provide information that can influence condor management practices and promote new techniques for evaluating fire management and its impacts to wildlife and the landscape.

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