1 Tahrcountry Musings: USA – California Condor reintroduction programme running in to rough weather

Sunday, August 10, 2008

USA – California Condor reintroduction programme running in to rough weather

The reintroduction of California Condors is one of the most ambitious reintroduction programme attempted in USA. The project is running in to rough weather after initial success. The culprit behind the decline is lead. The birds ingest the lead while feeding on wild pigs and other animals killed by hunters. According to scientists commissioned by American Ornithologists' Union (AOU), removing the poisonous metal from bullets and shotgun pellets is the only way to save the highly endangered California Condor.
Condors are the largest flying land birds in the Western Hemisphere. Condors belong to the family Cathartidae, and are closely related to Eagles. There are two monotypic c genuses. The Andeann Condor (Vultur gryphus) and California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus). The California Condor inhabits only the Grand Canyon area and western coastal mountains of California and northern Baja California. The California Condor is one of the world's rarest bird species. They usually live up to 50 years, and mate for life. California Condors finds a place in many Native American cultures. The condor is a scavenger and eats large amounts of carrion. Condor numbers started declining in the 19th century due to poaching, lead poisoning, and habitat destruction. When the population came down to 22 birds conservation plan was put in place by the United States government that led to the capture of all the remaining wild condors in 1987. These 22 birds were bred at the San Diego Wild Animal Park and the Los Angeles Zoo. The numbers rose through captive breeding and from 1991 condors, have been reintroduced into the wild. The project is the most expensive species conservation project ever undertaken in the United States. As on May 2008, there were 332 condors known to be living, including 152 in the wild.
The scientific community is working overtime to overcome the setback and put the project on an even keel
For more information on California Condor click here


Yadira said...

Mohan, thank you for this post. Lead is in fact a problem for the recovery of this critically endangered species and it is very important for people to know the affects of this preventable problem. Visit www.cacondorconservation.org for more up to date information on the plight of the California condor and hear from the biologist trying to save this species.

Mohan Alembath said...

Thank you Yadira.I had a look atwww.cacondorconservation.org. It is a great site