California condors still suffering from DDT

This is a California condor video from the USA.

Recent reports and studies of a struggling California condor population indicate the persistence of DDT contamination, underscoring long-standing concerns that the chemical pesticide and its related byproduct chemicals continue to threaten animal life and affect human health: here.

April 2011: Lead ammunition is a primary factor limiting the survival and recovery of the Californian condor, one of America’s most endangered birds, according to a new study: here.

June 2011: Recent episodes of lethal lead poisoning in California condors have biologists asking for more help from the public to conserve endangered condors in northern Arizona and southern Utah: here.

May 2011: A California condor chick has hatched in the wild at a new nest site near Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, northeast of the Grand Canyon: here.

Three California condors will be released to the wild in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona next month: here.

Scientific paper shows California condor still threatened by human activities: here.

California condors numbers pass the 400 mark for the first time for 100 years: here.

A comprehensive study led by environmental toxicologists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, shows that California condors are continually exposed to harmful levels of lead, the principal source of that lead is ammunition, and lead poisoning from ammunition is preventing the recovery of the condor population: here.

August 2012. A Peregrine Fund biologist has provided visual confirmation that a wild-hatched California condor chick is present in a nest cave deep in Grand Canyon National Park. That brings to three the number of wild condor chicks produced by the Arizona-Utah flock this season: here.

Andean condor chick video: here.

DDT Linked to Long-Term Decline of Insect-Eating Birds in North America, Through Analysis of Bird Droppings: here.

To control pest outbreaks, airplanes sprayed more than 6,280 tons of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) onto forests in New Brunswick, Canada, between 1952 and 1968, according to Environment Canada. By 1970, growing awareness of the harmful effects of DDT on wildlife led to curtailed use of the insecticide in the area. However, researchers have now shown that DDT lingers in sediments from New Brunswick lakes, where it could alter zooplankton communities: here.

Some Canadian lakes still store DDT in their mud: here.

DDT Still Killing Birds in Michigan: here.

21 thoughts on “California condors still suffering from DDT

  1. Oregon Zoo’s endangered California condors lay more eggs than ever

    Published: Thursday, March 24, 2011, 8:43 PM Updated: Thursday, March 24, 2011, 8:43 PM

    By Katy Muldoon, The Oregonian

    Sometime today, while a co-worker distracts two enormous, California condors with beaks strong enough to rip through cow hide, Kelli Walker plans to reach into the birds’ nest box, snatch the fist-sized egg they’ve been incubating, and try to help it hatch.

    Such is the high-drama life of the Oregon Zoo keeper charged with managing 38 condors, including 11 breeding pairs. Her job is particularly busy this year: The birds have laid 10 eggs, with one more possibly on the way — the most since the zoo joined the effort to save the critically endangered species by opening the nation’s fourth California condor captive-breeding operation in 2003.

    Condor eggs incubate 54 to 58 days and typically take a few days to hatch.

    When Walker last checked the first one due, the process had started, but the chick appeared stuck. She hopes that if she dampens the membrane, which is partly exposed, the chick will be able to rotate inside the egg and pop off the cap, hatching completely.

    Walker just can’t let the condor parents catch her in the act.

    The birds are so hinky about interference in their nests, that if they sense a disturbance they might attack and kill the egg, or leave the nest and fail to return. “It’s really bad juju,” Walker said.

    This year for the first time, the zoo plans to transfer at least two — maybe four — eggs to California, where they’ll be placed in nests in the wild.

    That doesn’t mean things will be slow at the zoo’s Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation, which sits in a tree-lined meadow in rural Clackamas County, a site off-limits to the public so that birds bound for release to the wild don’t grow accustomed to people.

    Though it is shipping some out, the zoo’s program is taking in eggs laid at other captive-breeding sites, so Walker expects to see nine or 10 chicks hatch in the weeks ahead.

    Among the center’s breeding females, Ojai was first out of the gate, laying an egg on Jan. 28. The last was laid by Wiloq on March 14.

    The ninth egg to arrive this season was the heaviest on record for the zoo, 326.9 grams or about 11 1/2 ounces.

    Captive breeding is helping California condors wing back from the brink of extinction. In 1982, only 22 were known to exist in the wild, and in 1987 those that remained were captured in an attempt to save the species. Today, the population hovers around 370; at last count, about three months ago, 189 lived in captivity and 181 flew free.


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