California condors and lead ammunition


This is a California condor video from the USA.

From Wildlife Extra:

Lead ammunition banned in California and reduced in Arizona to protect condors

Arizona hunters reduce lead ammunition voluntarily

October 2013. Hunters in Arizona have proved their commitment to wildlife conservation by voluntarily working to reduce the amount of lead exposure to endangered California condors, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department is encouraging all hunters to join the effort this fall.

85-90% of hunters using non-lead ammunition

In the last six years, 85 to 90 percent of hunters in Arizona’s condor range have voluntarily either used non-lead ammunition during their hunts or, if they used lead ammunition, they removed the gut piles from the field.

California bans lead ammunition

California just chose a different approach to help conserve that state’s condor population. California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation on Oct. 11 mandating that hunters statewide must use non-lead ammunition.

“Every state needs to take an approach that takes into consideration its own unique needs. In Arizona, we feel strongly that a voluntary approach works better than a mandated measure while still upholding the agreements that were originally promised when the condor reintroduction program was established,” says Allen Zufelt, Arizona Game and Fish’s condor program coordinator. “Achieving between 85 and 90 percent voluntary participation is a clear demonstration of hunters’ commitment to condor management, and they deserve to be recognized.”

Utah

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, which coordinates condor management with Arizona Game and Fish, has also recently implemented a lead reduction program in southern Utah. As the condor population has become more established, the birds have increased their foraging area and now use southern Utah heavily during the fall hunting season. These two complimentary programs should greatly benefit condors.

Lead poisoning a key factor in condor mortality

Lead poisoning has been identified as the leading cause of diagnosed death in endangered condors and the main obstacle to a self-sustaining population in Arizona and southern Utah. Studies suggest that lead shot and bullet fragments found in animal carcasses and gut piles are the most likely source of lead exposure. Many hunters do not realize that the carcass or gut pile they leave in the field usually contains lead bullet fragments. Gut piles from animals harvested with non-lead ammunition provide an important food source for the condors and should be left in the field.

The deaths of two California condors found last month in water tanks used by Kern County firefighters have state wildlife officials working on a way to keep the large, endangered birds out of the tanks: here.

It may not have a huge impact on hunting, but ‘green’ bullets could help reduce the rates of lead poisoning in groundwater and animals: here.

12 thoughts on “California condors and lead ammunition

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