UK Paper: Fate of Calif. Condor linked to Sandy Hook shooting

Never let a crisis go to waste.

“North America’s biggest land bird was brought back from the brink by a captive breeding programme. Now it’s caught in the crossfire over the use of lead bullets”

Read more at The Guardian.

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9 responses to “UK Paper: Fate of Calif. Condor linked to Sandy Hook shooting

  1. Linking the Sandy Hook atrocity to the survival of the California Condor is absurd. However, I have no problem at all with banning lead bullets in specific regions of the country if it is justified.

  2. “Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he was governor of California, implemented a lead bullet ban in 2008 in parts of that state that has not reduced condor poisoning rates, which are, if anything, higher than before.”

    “A voluntary lead reduction programme in Arizona has caused a 90% reduction in the numbers of hunters using lead, but failed to meaningfully reduce poisonings.”

    But they cling to their theory that bullet fragments in gut piles is what is poisoning the birds. Don’t let empirical observations interfere with theory.

  3. I’m with GC. Even if it wasn’t 100%, both the reduction and the ban should have seen a substantial reduction in lead exposure. The only rational answer is that the lead in the condors is not coming from new bullets. Is it from contaminated water sources? Old kills? Do condors naturally accumulate lead in their endocrine system? Is this a genetic defect that has propagated through the extremely limited breeding pool?

  4. Snorbert Zangox

    A hunter would only gut an animal if he wished to recover and consume the meat. If he only wanted the pelt, there would be no reason to gut the animal. If the gut piles are contaminated with lead from shattered bullets, the meat would be contaminated too. If that were the case, would there not be a large number of hunters (and families of hunters) suffering from lead poisoning? Where are they?

    • Not necessarily. Humans pick apart the meat and do not eat bones, so shrapnel is removed either during butchery or left on the plate at dinner. Vultures are not so picky, so it is more likely that they will actually swallow the lead.

  5. Let’s build more wind turbines so that condors (and bald eagles) can die in a politically-correct (and much more efficient) manner.

  6. Firstly, when I use the word “justified” I do mean scientifically proven, supported by empirical observation, etc. Secondly, a bird’s eating behavior and digestive system are substantially different from those of a human. If you or I encounter lead shot while eating game, and I have, we don’t swallow it. Birds intentionally ingest grit which accumulates in the gizzard to grind bones, nuts and so forth that they have eaten. A propensity to ingest grit, the presence of lead in gut piles, the grinding and pulverizing action of the gizzard, and the acidity of a birds digestive tract (pH values less than 1 have been observed) might explain high serum lead levels. Referring back to my first point, this has to be proven or at least shown to be a plausible explanation for observations of high lead levels in condors before any new regulations regarding lead in bullets or shot are considered.

  7. Like the house cat scare, this is another distraction to protect wind farms from scrutiny.

  8. Westchester Bill

    There is a problem with processing information. Lead is a poison – Yes. Methods exists that can inexpensively detect very minute levels of lead. Condors have some lead in them.

    It is wrong to conclude that lead in the quantities discovered have any effect what so ever on the Condors. Probably not.

    A true example. A local school had lead in its drinking water, but no lead in its water source. So all the plumbing was changed. At the conclusion of the expensive mitigation, lead sill was found in the drinking water, and no lead in the water source.

    Why? Lead was used the faucets so they would open and close properly. The lead leached from the faucets and was detectable. Only an anti-lead zealot would be concerned about that.

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