Zoo Family Mourns Death of Oldest Living Andean Condor in Captivity

Tue, 01/26/2010

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – January 26, 2010 — Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo announced today that Thaao (pronounced TAY-OH), the oldest living Andean condor in captivity, has died at nearly 80 years of age. Thaao came to the Zoo in 1993, after living most of his life at the Pittsburgh Zoo. He was the only endangered animal at the Zoo that was actually born in the wild. An autopsy was conducted and has proved inconclusive.

“We were extremely lucky to have had Thaao with us for as long as we did,” shared Gregg Dancho, Zoo Director. “He was not a cuddly, lovable guy but we were happy to give him a good home for his twilight years. He will be missed.”

When Thaao was born in 1930, Herbert Hoover was president of the United States. As such, he was the oldest living condor in captivity and most likely the oldest condor in the world. The average lifespan of an Andean condor is approximately 50 years of age. With a stud book number of four, it is believed that Thaao was one of the original animals to have been tracked using the system. A stud book, also called a breed registry, is a list of all of the known individual animals in a breed.

Because Andean condors are an endangered species, the Zoo worked closely with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA’s) Species Survival Program (SSP) to ensure that the proper autopsy protocols were followed, enabling valuable scientific information to be collected and recorded. Biologists estimate that there are only a few thousand of these birds left in the wild. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo also has been supporting the wild population of Andean Condors through the Zoo Conservation Outreach Group of which Dancho is Vice Chair.

“Thaao was one of the first animals our visitors saw upon entering our zoo and he was a great ambassador for both conservation and the Zoo,” explained Dancho. “We are hopeful that we will be able to work through the AZA’s Species Survival Program to bring other Andean condors to Connecticut’s only zoo.”

Anyone wishing to support efforts to bring another Andean condor to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo may send a tax deductible donation to the Zoo at 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, CT, 06610. Please make checks payable to “Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo.”

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Adult admission (ages 12 & older) is $11.00, children (ages 3 -11) and senior admission (62 and older) is just $9.00, and children under 3 years old and Zoo members are admitted free. Parking at the Zoo is free of charge.

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About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo:
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Visitors won’t want to miss our Amur (Siberian) tigers, ocelots, red & maned wolves, Andean (spectacled) bears, and golden lion tamarins. Other highlights include our South American rainforest with free-flight aviary, the prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas, the New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep and other barnyard critters, plus the hoofstock trail featuring bison, pronghorn, deer and more. Visitors can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove, and enjoy a ride on our colorful carousel. For more information, visit http://www.beardsleyzoo.org