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Scientific paper shows California condor still threatened by human activities
Date:1/20/2012

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"Although lead toxicosis from spent ammunition still threatens the survival of the California condor, one of our most iconic species, the good news is that solutions are available in the form of nontoxic ammunition," said Bruce Rideout, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVP, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research director of wildlife disease laboratories. "We can make this a win-win situation if we choose to."

Additional human-influenced deaths included 11 power-line collisions or electrocution. However, no fatal collisions or electrocutions have occurred since 2007, when power-pole aversion training was introduced for condors being prepared for release into the wild. During the study period, four birds died by gunshot and one by arrow. Two birds ingested zinc-core pennies, which led to zinc poisoning.

Parent feeding of microtrash to nestlings was the most important cause of death in this age class. Biologists have been clearing nest caves of trash prior to hatching and periodically throughout the nestling stage to reduce this problem. It has helped, but the cause of this behavior by adult birds remains open to speculation. One belief is the parents are feeding what they believe to be bone or mollusk-shell fragmentsbut is actually trashas a calcium source for the chicks. Others suggest it is a substitute for small stones and sticks that aid digestion. Polished bone fragments are now being provided as a calcium source for adults to feed to nestlings.


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Contact: Christina Simmons
csimmons@sandiegozoo.org
619-685-3291
Zoological Society of San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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