Condors, or New World Vultures, are pretty majestic birds with broad wings and black plumage. They are able to live until 50 years of age and grow to 8 to 10 ft on average, weighing 17 to 33lbs. They’re not the type of bird you’ll see perched on anyone’s shoulder considering that they are the largest flying animal in the western hemisphere.
It’s not every day that you see a condor hanging around a human, so the Internet was pretty shocked when a video of a man embracing one recently went viral. The man in question is an Argentine rancher named Edgardo and the video was originally posted for close friends and family on Whatsapp before it made its way to YouTube.
Edgardo lives in Loncopué, Argentina and while walking near his property one day he stumbled upon a young condor with a leg injury. He checked with local wildlife authorities who estimate that the bird was only a few months old and likely orphaned. Edgardo decided then to take things into his own hands and nursed the bird back to health.
He was careful with the way he interacted with the bird, not wanting to tame it. He left food out so that the condor learned to identify prey on his own. Edgardo named the bird “Condorito” after a Chilean comic book character. He gained the bird’s trust over time as a result of daily care, which is how Condorito learned to come over and hug his friend whenever he called.
Edgardo never gave up on bringing Condorito back to full health. His efforts were successful; the fowl learned to fly and hunt all on his own. Despite his growth, the friendly hugs never stopped. Thankfully, Edgardo only lives a few miles from the natural habitat of local condors, so Condorito is able to swing by without an issue.
Local wildlife authorities have reportedly been discussing the idea of relocating Condorito to a regional sanctuary or zoo, but Edgardo believes it is more appropriate and humane to let the bird remain outdoors.
Andean condors like Condorito are considered a national and mythological symbol across Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. But, to Edgardo, this condor is nothing but a kind and loyal lifelong friend.
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