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California Condor gets lead-free protection from toxic heavy metal

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, December 4th, 2008 at 7:38 am in California condors, Lead bullets.

California Condor photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Scott Frier

Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council Help Extend Lead-Ammunition Ban to Protect Iconic Birds

LOS ANGELES — A settlement announced today between environmentalists and the State of California will strengthen protections for California condors by placing limits on the use of ammunition containing lead throughout the species’ range.

Lead ammunition is a significant threat to the big birds because they are likely to scavenge prey that has been shot with the heavy metal. Studies show that the cumulative effect of ingesting lead, a process called bioaccumulation, causes reproductive problems and ultimately death for this majestic and endangered bird of prey. Recent reports show a similar problem for grizzly bears in the northern Rockies.

Why get the lead out?

After the Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, and other groups filed suit, the state Legislature responded by providing substantial protections for the bird through the Ridley-Tree Condor Conservation Act, which limits the use of lead ammunition throughout much of the condors’ range.

Today’s settlement with the California Department of Fish and Game and the California Fish and Game Commission extends these protections by eliminating lead ammunition for depredation hunting. The Commission has also agreed to consider prescribing a similar ban on lead ammunition for the hunting of small mammals that are part of the condors’ diet, such as jackrabbits and opossums. The settlement still requires court approval.

“We’re happy that the State of California is taking this positive step to further protect this iconic species,” said Adam Keats, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Unfortunately, many other species, as well as people, are harmed by lead ammunition every day. So we look forward to working with the state to further these protections and get the lead out of all ammunition.”

“We are all aware of the danger lead poses to humans,” said Damon Nagami, staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We’ve taken the lead out of paint. We’ve taken it out of gas. The science confirms the same threat to condors, so it was time to offer the same kinds of protection for one of this state’s best conservation stories, the endangered California condor.”

North America’s largest species of land birds nearly went extinct in the 1980s and ’90s. Thanks to reintroduction, small populations can now be found near the Grand Canyon; in northern Baja California, Mexico; and in western California.

More information is available at:

Go Condors! /Gary

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9 Responses to “California Condor gets lead-free protection from toxic heavy metal”

  1. Cheryl Reynolds Says:

    It’s encouraging to see these steps being taken to protect these grand birds.Too bad so much of our wildlife has to reach threatend and endangered status before such measures are implimented. Our local agencys should keep that in mind when they issue kill permits so easily as solutions to wildlife issues.

  2. eric mills Says:

    The science is in. The toxic effects of lead are well known and documented. There should be a nationwide ban on the use of lead for ALL hunting. Fishing, too.

    It’s not only the condors who suffer. Scavengers such as eagles, vultures ravens, crows, coyotes, badgers, roaming dogs, etc., are also victimized.

    Let’s get the lead out NOW. Legislation, anyone? Center for Biological Diversity? Environmental Defense? Sierra Club? Audubon? Talk’s cheap.

  3. lee stad Says:

    Growing up I was told that power lines and new construction were the main cause of the Condors demise.
    Now radical leftist groups are using the lead ban as an excuse to go after hunters and gun owners. It is all just an anti hunting scam! Just keep repeating the lie and if anyone contradicts the radical lie groups like the Auduban will trace back the email to your workplace and go after you.(it happened to me) All of the environmental Nazis and global warming cook nuts have serious mental disorders and have lost touch with reality!!!

  4. Gary Bogue Says:

    Someone here has certainly “lost touch with reality.”

  5. Tomas Jeffry Says:

    It is the standard evil lie. We have to go after peoples rights for safety or the environment. Find the big corporate donors and you find the problem here it lies with the Packard foundation a big corporate working with Maria Shiver they brings kids in everyday to the womens museum in Sacramento at the Secretary of state building for brain washing of elementary school kids.

  6. Abrham Licon Says:

    Hunters have donated over 700 million dollars to preserve wet lands and forests and in return they are spit on for there efforts. Barnes ammo costs a fortune now about $60 a box and copper fouls the barrels of rifles. Lets make it as expensive as possible to hunt is a good anti hunting tool. tough times are coming and it is going to become impossible to pay for all of these agendas they will soon become unenforceable toilet paper as we turn into a 3rd world welfare state.

  7. horse sense Says:

    Yes. lets cause a hardship for the local ranchers. They can then loose there ranches to developers since developers weren’t put on the corporate environmental list as a concern.? Through taxes and donations the captive bred condors will survive but not in nature. The Condors will survive through artificial means. Gee wont we all just feel so cozy and warm! Near woodland a 50,000 farm acres were taken from the local farmer to save the environment. Turns out the thieves were really developers. They have now drained the fields so there is less wildlife for a less critter less environmental impact for future housing.

    Signed horse sense

  8. Hunter Says:

    I hunt and I love the land I use to hunt the the Feather river Wildlife area near Nicholas California. Tough to hunt loads of game though. The area was surrounded by Walnut orchards, corn and rice fields. Game wood go in and out of those fields. Soon they put 3000 homes adjacent the wildlife area Now the areas is ruined cats are all over the place hunting birds during the spring hatch. Developers destroyed that nature area not hunters! I live in the real world because I get out in the world and see it first hand. I don’t get my reality from a book.

  9. Gary Bogue Says:

    In case anyone is interested, the above comments from Lee Stad, Tomas Jeffry (Thomas Jefferson?), Abrham Licon (Abraham Lincoln?), Horse Sense, and Hunter are all from one and the same person … who apparently feels his unsupported comments are so weak he needs to make it look like all these other people are supporting him. NOT.

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