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Environmental contaminants in California condors

Journal of Wildlife Management

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Abstract

Five wild Califorinia condors (Gymnogyps californianus) that died in 1980-86 were necropsied and tissues were analyzed for environmental contaminants. Three died of lead (Pb) poisoning, 1 presumably of cyanide (CN) poisoning, and 1 nestling of handling shock. Organochlorine concentrations were low in 4 condors that were analyzed for these contaminants. Blood samples from 14 wild and 14 captive condors were analyzed primarily for Pb. Five of 14 wild condors sampled had elevated (> 0.70 ppm) concentrations of Pb in blood whereas Pb concentrations in all captive condors were low. Lead levels in individual birds often fluctuated over time. Lead exposure, especially poisoning, was a major factor affecting the wild California condor population during 1982-86. The probable source of Pb was bullet fragments in carrion on which condors were feeding.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Environmental contaminants in California condors
Series title:
Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume
52
Issue:
2
Year Published:
1988
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
238-247
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
238
Last page:
247
Number of Pages:
10