By Gary Bogue
Friday, October 12th, 2007 at 7:31 am in California condors.
On Oct. 9, I wrote here about the California Fish and Game Commission meeting on Oct. 11-12 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 45 John Glenn Drive, Concord, in the Cedar Room. I asked you to please attend the meeting and when it was time for public comments, to stand up and ask the commissioners to support a ban on the use of lead bullets in the endangered California condor range.
This got a response in “Comments” at the end of my blog:
“This is another idiotic environmental wacko proposal. By demonizing lead, the anti-gun nuts believe that they have taken one more incremental step toward banning guns and ammunition. Let’s be honest, this is another feel-good meddling idea. What are the actual odds that a hunter will use lead in any form to shoot a game animal and then just walk off and leave it to that a condor will find the carcass before other scavengers get to it. Then consume exactly the right amount of the dead animal to cause the death of the Condor. Perhaps one in 100 million to one?? Please, leave the shooters alone. They will just go to bismuth or some other heavy shot replacement. Stick to your cute back yard stories Gary and leave the wacko politics to the enviro-nuts. — Posted by Larry Ward, October 9, 2007 11:01 AM”
I beg to differ. This has nothing to do with anti-gun nuts, or banning guns, or ammunition, or hunters. It has to do with changing the TYPE of ammunition used in the condor refuges … from lead to something else that won’t poison these endangered birds.
As to the actual odds that lead from bullets will poison condors?
Here’s a sampling of the reports in my very thick “Condors vs. Lead” file:
Twelve California condors have died of lead poisoning since the program started in 1992, according to the Ventana Wilderness Society. That’s a conservative estimate, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which has reported at least 15 condor deaths linked to lead since the reintroduction began.
In July of this year, a consortium of 44 scientists announced that lead bullets have been the main cause of lead poisoning in the Calif. condor population. Dr. Don Smith, chair of the toxicology department at University of California, Santa Cruz, says isotopes found in lead bullet samples and in condor blood were significantly similar.
On top of the two condors poisoned this summer, 11 from Pinnacles National Monument had to be treated last summer for elevated lead levels. Five condors recently suffered from acute lead poisoning, after feeding on a wild pig carcass killed by hunters near Pinnacles.
Check out this Washington Post story on condors and lead poisoning from today’s paper.
Anyone who really cares about these giant endangered birds should trot right over to this morning’s meeting of the California Fish and Game Commission and ask them to ban the use of lead bullets in the condor range. The meeting starts at 8:30 a.m.
And now, back to my cute back yard stories. /Gary