A new report published by the University of California says the condor population in the state has been affected by the lead found in ammunition. Myra Finkelstein the author of the study says that the at this time condors is California are tagged, then monitored and twice each year are trapped to have blood tests performed. At that time, if needed, they get treatment for exposure to lead at veterinary clinics. Nevertheless, condors continue to die from being poisoned from lead in the state.
Finkelstein said that lead poisoning in the population of condors in California has reached epidemic proportions. The study team from UC Santa Cruz found out the lead poisoning source traced back to all the ammunition via testing done by an isotope. Captive condors have lead fingerprints that match background environmental lead found in California, whereas the wild condors have an isotope fingerprint that matches lead found in ammunition.
Researchers are worried that death due to lead poisoning is stopping the condor population from recovering. The research said that if the problem were not solved, there would not be a self-sustaining wild condor population in California.
The condors are an endangered species and quite sensitive to changes that take place in and around their environment. In 1982, the population of condors dropped to just 22 in the wild and has slowly recovered and today is at just over 400.
Researchers said that even though the population is increasing it is not sustainable without an intensive amount of human management and the introduction on a regular basis of condors that were captive-raised.