Despite two deaths, 19 of the sick Andean condors have recovered thanks to local veterinarian and will be re-released into the wild Wednesday.
On Wednesday afternoon veterinarian Erik Savard will help to uncage 19 recuperated Andean condors — giant birds which tourists spotted last week, plummeting drunkenly from the sky.
"I don't think so many condors have ever been released in Chile, not in South America even," Savard, who has been treating the animals, told The Santiago Times. "They always release just two or three. A release like this one is unique."
The rescue effort began Aug. 11 when drivers on International Highway 60 informed police that a group of Andean condors were flying irregularly and crashing into rocks and electrical wires near the road. Many of the drivers, like Rafael Barrahona, were returning from a vacation or day trip in the snow-capped Andes .
"I was passing through because I travel to the mountains a lot ... and coming down I see these birds flying at a very low height and beginning to fall," Barrahona told The Santiago Times. "I realized they had a really serious problem. They seemed very intoxicated."