Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wounded Condor Dies

One of the California Condors that were wounded by shotgun in March died of lead poisoning.

The bad news: California condor #286, who was found suffering from lead poisoning by Ventana Wildlife Society biologists in early March, has died.

A statement released by the Wildlife Society said the condor "will be remembered as key contributor to our elite group of free-flying condors. This flock wouldn't be where they are today without condors like 286...he will be sorely missed."

#286 (condors are identified by their studbook numbers) was affectionately called "Pinns" because he was among the first six California condors to be released at Pinnacles National Monument. He'd lived in the wild until biologists noticed him ailing and captured him so he could receive treatment.
The strange part of the story is that it appears the shooting did not cause the lead poisoning. Instead, it consumed lead fragments in the course of scavenging. Rehabilitators were not able remove the lead from the bird's bloodstream to save it.