Poisoned, wounded Calif. condor treated at LA Zoo

Mar 14, 2009
This image provided by the Los Angeles Zoo on Friday March 13, 2009, shows an X-ray of a California condor injured by pellets, shown as white spots at lower right, and suffering from lead poisoning. Zoo curator of birds Susie Kasielke said Friday the bird's prognosis is guarded and it is essentially in intensive care. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Zoo)

(AP) -- A California condor captured because it appeared sickly was found to not only be suffering from lead poisoning but also had been shot, animal experts said Friday.

Unable to eat on its own, the was under intensive care at the Los Angeles and its prognosis was guarded, said Susie Kasielke, curator of birds.

X-rays taken at the zoo turned up embedded in its flesh, she said. Those wounds had healed.

It could not be determined if the pellets were lead or steel, but the poisoning was most likely caused by the bird ingesting spent lead ammunition in carcasses of animals that had been shot by hunters, Kasielke said.

Condors are carrion-eaters and such poisoning by lead ammunition has long been recognized as a problem. California requires hunters to use only non-lead ammunition in the condors' range. It is also illegal to shoot a condor.

Giant California condors are an endangered species, and the federal government has been working for years to establish breeding populations in the wild.

The ailing condor, a nearly 7-year-old dubbed No. 286, was a dominant member of a flock on the central California coast until late January, when biologists from Pinnacles National Monument and the Ventana Wildlife Society noticed it was suddenly being pushed around by younger birds, the said.

Biologists tried to capture it because the behavior indicated health problems. They were unsuccessful until March 4, when it appeared wobbly on its feet. Tests showed a potentially fatal lead exposure and the condor was sent to the zoo.

Kasielke said that if the condor survives it would stay at the zoo for several weeks, but could be returned to the wild.

Exactly how long ago the bird was shot could not be determined, she said.

---

On the Net:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/i/b0g.html

Ventana Wildlife Society: http://www.ventanaws.org/

Calif. Department of Fish and Game: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/condor/

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

California condors making a comeback

Mar 29, 2006

A pair of California condors has been discovered nesting in Northern California -- the first condor nesting reported there in more than 100 years.

Tracing the Roots of the California Condor

Oct 29, 2007

At the end of the Pleistocene epoch some 10,000 years ago, two species of condors in California competed for resources amidst the retreating ice of Earth's last major glacial age. The modern California condor triumphed, while ...

Recommended for you

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

8 hours ago

One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled ...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

10 hours ago

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but re ...

Fear of the cuckoo mafia

10 hours ago

If a restaurant owner fails to pay the protection money demanded of him, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...