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Friday, November 9, 2007

Gov. Schwarzenegger Targets Toxic Ammunition, Endorses New Law to Protect Endangered California Condor from Lead Poisoning

10-13-2007 SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today Governor Schwarzenegger signed an historic bill requiring the use of non-lead ammunition within California condor habitat. Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) introduced A.B. 821 to aid condor recovery by reducing the exposure to lead found in the food of this critically endangered bird.

“We applaud Gov. Schwarzenegger for taking this important action to protect California’s iconic condor from lead poisoning—the species’ most substantial obstacle to recovery,” said Pamela Flick, California program coordinator for Defenders of Wildlife. “With a stroke of his pen, the Governor has taken a significant step toward protecting our endangered wildlife and people from this toxic substance,” said Flick.

Lead is a potent poison that is the leading cause of death among free-flying condors. Ammunition has been found to be the principle source of lead in condors, North America’s largest bird. Condors and other scavengers suffer lead poisoning when they ingest lead bullets or bullet fragments from animal carcasses shot with the toxic ammunition and left in the field.
“Lead has been removed from gasoline, paint, water pipes, and cookware. Now, we can add ammunition in condor country to this growing list,” Flick continued.

Although extremely tough, condors are not immune to the effects of lead poisoning. There have been 276 documented cases of lead poisoning in California condors just since 2000. At least four condors deaths in the state have been confirmed as lead poisonings and dozens more deaths are likely linked to lethal lead exposure.

“Assemblymember Nava has been extremely dedicated to getting the lead out of California condor territory for years,” said Flick. “We thank Mr. Nava and Gov. Schwarzenegger for ensuring that condors will continue to soar over California for future generations to enjoy.”

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