Environmental contaminants in California condors

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 

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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
Larger Work Title Journal of Wildlife Management
First page 238
Last page 247