Denver Zoo has newly hatched Andean condor

The Denver Zoo has a newly born Andean condor, only the second condor to hatch at a zoo anywhere in the world over the past year.

The Denver condor, a male, hatched May 13. He and his parents are the zoo's only condors.

Andean condors are an endangered species and came close to extinction in the 1970s, the zoo said. There are estimated to be only a few thousand of the giant birds in the wild, while 74 live in captivity in North America.

When Denver's new condor matures, he will either be taken to another zoo for breeding - most likely in Europe or South America - or if he is a good candidate, he may be considered for a program in Colombia that releases the birds into the wild, Denver Zoo spokeswoman Ana Bowie said.

A mature condor has a wingspan of 11 feet (3.35 meters) and stands about four feet (1.22 meters) tall. They generally grow to about 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) and can live up to 50 years.

The Denver chick weighed only a half a pound when it was born but has already grown to nearly five pounds (2.27 kilograms).

Both parents incubated the egg and cared for the newborn, which is in the species' nature, the zoo said. Both will likely care for the chick during its first year or two of life.

Condors are native to the Andes Mountains in western South America. They are a national symbol for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.