Use of conditioned taste aversion (CTA) has been proposed to reduce consumption of California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) eggs by ravens (Corvus corax). Although landrin has induced aversions in ravens and other birds, no data were available on behavioral and physiological effects of landrin on condors, non-target birds that might consume treated eggs. Because condors are endangered, we selected taxonomically related surrogates to approximate the effects on condors of acute oral doses of landrin. Seven black vultures (Coragyps atratus), 2 turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), and 2 king vultures (Sarcoramphus papa) received landrin and placebo treatments 1 week apart. Plasma cholinesterase (ChE) activity was monitored at zero, 3, and 24 hours posttreatment, and behavioral observations were made for 2 hours posttreatment. The doses tested were nonlethal, and ChE levels approached normal within 24 hours after treatment. Only the frequency of vomiting differed statistically between the placebo and landrin treatment. We conclude that with appropriate precautions, landrin can be used in applications of CTA to discourage consumption of condor eggs by ravens, while posing no apparent risk to reintroduced condors.
Additional publication details
Sublethal landrin toxicity: Behavioral and physiological effects on captive vultures