The Sespe Condor Sanctuary provides critical habitat and wildlife refuge for the endangered California condor. The Forest Service established the Sanctuary in 1947 and expanded it in 1951 to its current size of 53,000 acres. In 1967 the condor was first recognized as “endangered,” and in 1972 received legal protection under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty with Mexico that was amended to include vultures and other families of birds. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 directed federal agencies to protect habitat and institute recovery plans.
“The Tar Creek area is closed and we are working with our partners and volunteers to share that message with the public,” said Ojai District Ranger Sue Exline. “It is important we convey this, and let people know why it is so important that we protect this vital habitat.”
The Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act of 1993 established the Sespe Wilderness, which encompasses the Sespe Condor Sanctuary. Survey data demonstrates the California condors heavily use the Sanctuary to breed, nest, roost and forage. Human interaction with the condors remains a concern, exposing the birds to contamination and increasing the likelihood of their associating food and microtrash with humans and potentially reducing their reliance on natural foraging.
Adjacent to the Sanctuary and also closed to public entry for the protection of the condor is the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge.