California Condor Repopulation
In a recent San Francisco Chronicle article, by Peter Fimrite, it was reported that the California Condor population is being replenished, and once again these majestic birds are roaming the California landscape. Last month five condors were spotted at the Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton, just east of San Jose California. As stated in the article “It is the second time since condors were reintroduced into the wild after nearly going extinct that the enormous carrion-eating birds have been tracked into the Diablo Range” (Fimrite). In nineteen eighty seven the birds were almost extinct, there were only twenty two remaining in the world, thus began the repopulation by biologists of the California Condor. Even though the Condor population is being replenished in the wild, there are still dangers to their existence such as lead poisoning and the trash ingestion. Luckily the biologists in charge of the repopulation project have attached Global Positioning System tracking devices on about half of the birds, radio frequency tracking on the rest. Being able to track the animal’s means that they can scout the areas the birds are visiting for potential hazards.
The California Condor has not always been associated with just California and the western United States. More than eleven thousands years ago the Condor had habitats as far away as upstate New York and Florida. The Gymnogyps Californicus (California Condor) is the largest bird in North America, with a wing span of over nine and a half feet and can live to be as old as a human, up to eighty years (Wilkinson). The Condors natural food source is dead animals, in the early nineteen hundreds the decline of these birds started, with the over hunting of big game by humans, leading to less of a food source for the Condor. The deceased animals that had been shot and left in the wild by the hunters were still filled with lead fragments from the bullets used to kill them. The lead in these...
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