Monday, June 2, 2008

California condor - Again threatened with extinction

Condors in California nearly went extinct in 1980s, and survived only because of trapping and breeding program that helped restore the species. In April 2008, there were 299 critically endangered condors known to be living, including 147 in the wild. However seven California condors have been found with lead poisoning as the birds started turning up sick about a month ago during random trappings at Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge in the San Joaquin Valley.
It is very likely that condors were poisoned by eating the carcasses of animals that had been shot by hunters, of which many of them use lead bullets, and this often leads to lead poisoning.

This situation presents another great threat to these critically endangered birds, but under a ban that will take effect on July 1st, it will be illegal for California hunters to possess or fire lead ammunition when they are in the birds' habitat. How much good will this bring to condors, experts still do not know, but nevertheless it should be of great help for California condor conservation.

California condor is extremely vulnerable to lead poisoning

California condor conservation plan, that started in 1987, was the most expensive species conservation project ever undertaken in the United States, costing over $35 million. It would be a great shame if this project proves to be a big failure, after so many years and so many funds. But lead poisoning still threatens California condors because of their extremely strong digestive juices are more vulnerable to lead than any other avian scavengers.

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