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Endangered Condors Threatened With Lead Poisoning

PAGE, AZ - MARCH 24: A rare and endangered fully mature California condor looks up from span on a bridge in Marble Gorge, east of Grand Canyon National Park, on March 24, 2007 west of Page, Arizona. Condor managers taking blood samples from the 57 wild condors in Arizona both before and after hunting season find that all 57 condors test positive for contamination by lead matching the isotropic fingerprint of the lead commonly used in ammunition, and that those levels rise significantly by the end of the season. Many of the condors become so sick that biologists must re-capture them for lead-poisoning treatments. Several die each year. Experts believe the condors are ingesting the lead as they scavenge gut piles left behind hunters because lead bullets shatter and fragment inside the kill. Officials in Arizona are encouraging hunters to use copper bullets instead of lead-based ammunition and in California, a coalition of conservation groups has sued the California Fish and Game Commission in an effort to force a ban on lead ammunition in Condor ranges. The condors in the Marble Canyon and Vermillion Cliffs area easily fly as far west as Lake Mead, by way of the Grand Canyon, and to Zion National Park and far into Utah. With a wingspan up to 9 ? feet, they are the largest flying birds in North America. In 1982, when the world population of California condors dropped to only 22 and extinction was believed eminent, biologist captured them and began a captive breeding and release program which has increased the total population to 278, of which 132 now live in the wild in Arizona, California, and Baja California, Mexico. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Endangered Condors Threatened With Lead Poisoning : News Photo
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Credit:
David McNew / Staff
Editorial #:
73694654
Collection:
Getty Images News
Date created:
24 March, 2007
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Release info:
Not released. More information
Source:
Getty Images North America
Object name:
73651137DM064_Endangered_Co