- Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2015

VERMILION CLIFFS NATIONAL MONUMENT, Ariz. (AP) - Three endangered California condors that were born and raised in captivity are being released into the wild.

The release is planned Sept. 26 at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in far northern Arizona. It coincides with National Public Lands Day.

The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, and zoos in Oregon and California raise condors to try to boost the wild population that dwindled to 22 in the 1980s.

Lead poisoning remains a major threat to the birds. Condors ingest lead fragments from the carcasses and gut piles of animals.

Spotting scopes will be set up at Vermilion Cliffs to watch as the condors are set free about a mile away.

About 70 condors are in a flock that roams the Arizona-Utah border.

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