Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

May 13, 2009

Sad news: Lead poisoning kills California Condor

An endangered California Condor that was among the first six birds released to the wild in 2003 died this week from complications caused by lead poisoning.

The bird Number 286 died Monday at the Los Angeles Zoo where officials worked for more than a month to remove lead from his bloodstream. His weight had dropped to half of his 24-pound body weight.

The condor was poisoned by ingesting lead ammunition used by game hunters in the area of Pinnacles National Monument near Salinas, CA. See the CondorCam

Since 2003, the Pinnacles has been the site of successful 23 condor releases. There are 322 Condors alive today. Of those, 150 are in captivity and 172 have been released in the wild in California, Arizona and Baja California area in Mexico. Details

News report:

California condor dies at LA Zoo of lead poisoning

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5 Responses to “Sad news: Lead poisoning kills California Condor”

  1. Alice Says:

    It is sad news. Lead shot should be banned all over, not just in some counties. I hate to hear or see when animals die of human-thumbprint deaths; lead-shot/ammo, electrical poles and cars are all engineered by humans.

  2. Alice Says:

    Every time we are hiking or bird-watching in condor-territory we hope to see a condor, of course. So far we have been in the Sespe Wilderness, North Rim Grand Canyon, Los Padres and Sierra Nevada Ranges but have seen only bald eagles, golden eagles, raptors and turkey vultures. These are great in their own right but oh, what a sight it would be to see a California Condor floating the skies. People that do not respect or honor these great creatures have no place of respect in my heart. I hope society will be able to ban lead shot for good someday, everywhere, for the safety of all vultures and carrion eaters.

  3. Webcoot Says:

    Thanks Alice for the feedback.

    With hope the National Park Service Lead Phase Out set for 2010 is a good start.

    Details:

    http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/stories/090324.html

  4. Rick Says:

    Another tragedy in every way. A total ban on lead ammo is practical and free: copper bullets are easily available. "Chelating" (pulling a lead-stricken condor from the wild to clean its bloodstream) costs thou$$ands each time. As we see, sometimes it's too late.

    It's so simple. All those who govern us have to do is mandate an end to lead everywhere. What am I missing?

  5. Alice Says:

    What can be done to persuade U.S. law (or maybe we need to start with California state law?) to ban all lead shot and lead ammunition? Have other states done this already and what was the outcome? If such law does exist in other states then I would imagine that it did not kill (pardon the pun) the gun industry nor enthusiasm for gun ownership so…
    their lives can, and do, go on. Why not give up the lead then, I ask?

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