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Lead Contamination Hindering California Condor in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona

Lead Contamination Hindering California Condor in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona
November 29
13:49 2017

Lead contamination remains the leading threat hindering the reintroduction of California condors in northern Arizona and southern Utah. According to reports, ninety percent of the bird population has been tested and 29 percent were found to have ingested lead.  The source is hunter ammunition.

Apparently, hunters complain that non-lead bullets are not available in every caliber and that copper bullets are more expensive and less effective than lead ammunition.

The reintroduction program began in 1996 with the release of six condors at Vermilion Cliffs.  Its goal is two geographically separate, self-sustaining populations.  Such a population is comprised of 150 birds with at least 15 breeding prayers.

Through 2016, 189 captive-hatched condors have been released, and 29 more hatched in the wild.

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