Wednesday, 30 May 2012

California condors numbers pass the 400 mark for the first time for 100 years

226 free flying condors
May 2012. California condor numbers have crept above 400 for the first time since they teetered on the verge of extinction. 

There are currently 226 wild flying condors, 125 in California, 80 in Arizona and a small population of 21 in Baja Mexico. Of these birds, 29 fledged in the wild, mostly in California. There are also 179 birds in Captivity, in various breeding programmes, awaiting release or for vetinerary treatment. The recovery programme has always that a free flying population of 450 birds is required as a minimum for the population to be self-sustaining.
1982 - Just 22 California Condors alive
California Condors are highly endangered - only 22 individuals remained alive in 1982. The Peregrine Fund started raising condors in captivity at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, in 1993 and three years later began releasing them to the wild at the Vermilion Cliffs release site in northern Arizona.
Endangered by lead shot
‘The greatest obstacle to a self-sustaining population of California Condors continues to be lead poisoning, the leading cause of death,' Parish said. The condors ingest lead fragments after eating carrion and entrails from animals that have been shot with lead ammunition. The bullets disperse dozens of tiny particles of lead as small as a grain of salt throughout the animal. These particles are enough to cause lead toxicity in condors when they scavenge on the remains.

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