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Bakersfield Condors bring live condor to game, condor gets loose, hilarity ensues (video)

Feb 11, 2013, 9:17 PM EDT

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Long story short: the Bakersfield Condors, an ECHL (AA) hockey team, thought that it would be a good idea to bring a live condor onto the ice during the National Anthem on Friday. What could possibly go wrong?

Queen Victoria (that’s the condor’s name) was supposed to hop up and stand on a hockey stick made into a perch. But before that could happen, of course the bird made a break for it: skating for a bit on the ice, causing its trainer to fall, and then joining its fellow Condors on the team bench, causing the players to scatter. Eventually the bird hopped down and headed for the tunnel to the locker room.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Hey, that’s not a California Condor. They don’t have white necks!’ And you’d be right. Queen Victoria is an Andean Condor, owned by Las Vegas animal trainer Joe Krathwohl.

There are only about 250 California Condors in the wild (up from a low of 22 in the 1970s), so parading one around a Minor League Hockey arena would be kind of stupid. The Andean Condor, by contrast, is doing much better in its native habitat: it’s listed as “near threatened”.

Bakersfield Californian:

By Monday, the video had been shown on the Today show, Good Morning America, a slew of ESPN shows and on dozens of local news outlets across the country.

Vicky, who originally came from a government condor study program, cannot be reintroduced to the wild, Krathwohl said. But he has high hopes that a breeding program at his facility will ultimately yield condor chicks that can add to the dwindling numbers of the South American species.

“Vicky was not hurt. She was not stressed,” he said. “The only one that got hurt was the idiot who brought the condor.”

Dave Barry: “As God is my witness, I thought condors could skate.”