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The California Condor

We recently watched a wonderful special on National Geographic Channel 'Wild Areas: Grand Canyon'. We were saddened to learn about the plight of the California Condor, on the verge of extinction. Today, the California Condor is regarded as one of the rarest birds in the world. Placed on the federal endangered species list in 1967, the population had declined to just 22 birds by 1982.

The Peregrine Fund, an organization founded in 1970 by Tom Cade, works nationally and internationally, to conserve birds of prey in nature. Massive efforts by numerous agencies, including The Peregrine Fund, established the California Condor Restoration - Conservation Projects. Their goal: establish self-sustaining wild populations of California Condors through captive propagation, release, and management with the ultimate goal of removing the species from the Endangered Species List.

The agencies have been educating hunters in the area about the dangers of using lead-based ammunition. These scavenger birds ingest spent lead fragments from this ammunition while feeding on “gut piles” left by hunters after field dressing their animals. The National Geographic special did report, thankfully, some progress as many hunters support the change to alternate ammunition.

A more recently noted, and quite unexpected threat to the Condors who call the Grand Canyon home, is the simple practice of a coin toss. Every year thousands of visitors traditionally toss a coin and make a wish at an observation point over-looking the Grand Canyon. Most unfortunately, a dead condor was found by researchers and X-rays showed the condor’s death was caused by a coin lodged in the bird’s throat. This was such a heartbreaking loss of a bird so close to extinction, which no one might have anticipated. With this post, we sincerely hope to educate our readers. If you visit the Grand Canyon, please save your coins …. or better yet, donate to the Peregrine Fund.

~ by Mysticle ~


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