California Condors continue to suffer from lead poisoning. They ingest the lead when they eat the carcasses of animals killed with lead-based ammunition. Even though California has banned the use of lead ammunition in the eight counties where condors are found, the condors continue to have high levels of lead. Condors may fly as much as 240 kilometers to find food and often search outside the eight counties.
Researchers checking the lead level in California Condors found 70% of the birds had signs of lead exposure and half of the free flying condors had levels that were considered lead poisoning. Free Flying condors in California are captured twice a year and tested for lead levels. Those with excessive lead levels are taken to zoos where they are treated and released back into the wild. Without human intervention the Condors would not survive in the wild. Researchers believe that a total ban on lead bullets would result in Condors surviving without human intervention. Read more at: Scavenged Bullets Dooming Condors – ScienceNOW.
- New study: lead poisoning of condors at ‘epidemic proportions’ (mercurynews.com)
- Lead poisoning stymies condor recovery (sciencenews.org)