In 1986, the condor was so close to extinction that the government captured 27 of the huge birds, fearing that otherwise there soon would be none left at all.
In the years of protection that followed, the population gradually grew, thanks in no small part to a condor who goes by the endearing name of Adult Condor No. 8, or AC-8. Though the condor's prospects for a long time were dicey, AC managed to produce nine chicks who survived to maturity.
After years of effort, the known condor population soared back up to 155, and it was considered safe to let AC-8 back into the wilds again.
So forget all those legends about the phoenix. This time it was the turn of the California condor to survive extinction and fly high again.