But they are back on their feet, poking their beaks through the bars of their cages, impatient to return to the skies over Colombia, which have been transformed into hostile territory for the so-called king of the Andes – the condor.
Dasan, a five-year-old male, fell victim first. Locals found him in November – weak and strangely docile – in Cerrito, located about 400 kilometres (250 miles) west of the capital Bogotá.
Then Illika, an older female, was found just 200 metres (650 feet) from that spot, showing the same symptoms of poisoning – which may have been intentional.
According to the Neotropical Foundation, the incident marks at least the fifth time that ranchers have used poisoned carrion to eliminate the birds of prey, which they see as dangerous to their herds of cattle, sheep and goats.
"In Andean nations, the paramos serve as our reservoirs. Without this tropical heathland, we would literally be parched and dead," Sebastian Kohn, director of the Andean Condor Foundation in Ecuador, told AFP.
"The livestock is having a negative impact, but if we pull them all out in one fell swoop, the condor will have nothing to feed itself," he added, highlighting the complexity of the problem.
The Andean condor, one of the biggest birds in the world with a wingspan of up to 3.2 metres and a weight of 9-15 kilogrammes (20-33 pounds), is considered to be in critical danger of extinction in Colombia, a nation that has adopted the predator as its national symbol.
At least 30 condors soar over the Cerrito area, according to Fausto Saenz, scientific director for the Neotropical Foundation.
The foundation worked with the Andean Condor Foundation in Ecuador, the US non-governmental organization The Peregrine Fund and the Jaime Duque zoo outside Bogota to rehabilitate and release Dasan and Illika back into the wild.
Researchers, firefighters and police officers took care of the birds at first. Then a helicopter airlifted them to the veterinary clinic at the Jaime Duque zoo.