Less than one month after the first California condor was discovered with 15 buckshot pellets embedded in his body and suffering from lead poisoning, the reward for information leading to capture of the poacher has reached $40,500. A second condor, juvenile female 375, was found last week with similar injuries in the same area.
Both birds are being treated at the Los Angeles Zoo, but their condition is still uncertain. Lead poisoning among condors is common, because they feed on carrion frequently shot with lead ammunition. In 2007, lead ammunition was outlawed throughout the condor’s range, but poisoning continues to be a problem. California condors are critically endangered and have been managed through a captive breeding and reintroduction program since the late 1980s.