First National Park Born Condor Chick Poisoned by Lead Shot

The famous first baby condor to have been born inside a National Park in over 100 years had to be brought in by biologists, and taken to intensive care, due to lead poisoning. The birds are being treated via a process known as chelation to remove the lead from their blood, which would otherwise kill them. The chick and his father were likely poisoned by lead shot from a carcass they ingested.

The NRA is currently fighting proposed bans on lead shot --- which poisons many species of wildlife, as well as human beings. To be blunt, and without cursing, I cannot possibly understand why the NRA and certain hunters insist on using lead shot, when steel shot is available. It seems to be a case of being worried that they can't budge an inch --- but it is patently obvious that lead shot is incredibly detrimental to wildlife and the environment. (As well as routinely poisoning hunters who can't possible get all the minute fragments of lead out of their kills.)

Image courtesy of our friends at the Peregrine Fund

Of course, many hunters are also great advocates for wildlife and conservation, so it will be interesting to see how this schism will play out. Let's hope we win, as it will be a great victory for the health of people, animals and the environment!

The Los Angeles Zoo is currently treating both father and chick. Let's keep our fingers crossed for them, as only 180 of these soaring giants remain in the wild.

It is currently unknown whether or not the mother has also been poisoned, though efforts are underway in Pinnacles National Monument to trap her, in order to test her lead levels.

You can support these magnificent birds through the great work of the Peregrine Fund by purchasing Barnaby Whitfield's beautiful California Condor print for ESPP.


  1. I hope the condors get better.

    I can't understand why the NRA isn't willing to compromise on switching from lead to steel shot. It's not as if they're being told that they can't hunt at all.

    I guess the NRA just isn't willing to compromise on anything at all.


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