Two wild California Condors contained moderate to high levels of DDE in their tissues. The levels found could be high enough to cause reproductive problems in adult condors, if the assumption is made that condors are as susceptible to DDE as many other species of birds of prey. Other organochlorines occurred at low levels and probably were not high enough to cause deleterious effects. Metal residues in tissues of one bird were generally low except for copper in liver and lead in bone. Normal background levels of these metals in cathartids are unknown, making interpretation of the results difficult. Organochlorine residues in biopsy samples from a captive condor were low and probably would not have an adverse effect on reproduction if the bird were used for captive breeding. Organochlorines were not detected in food items used in the supplemental feeding program, and mercury and lead residues in these items were generally low. Information is needed on current contaminant levels in natural condor prey throughout the condor range.
Additional publication details
Environmental contaminants in tissues, foods, and feces of California condors