Condor advocates seek lead bullet ban

Wildlife advocates petitioned California last week to ban lead bullets to protect condors.

More than 50 of the gawky and endangered birds reside in the southern half of the state. Two condors reared in captivity have died from ingesting lead in carcasses in the wild, and six more show acute lead poisoning, says Ron Jurek, a biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game.

A group of environmentalists, biologists and hunters filed the emergency petition. It seeks to substitute copper or steel-jacket bullets, which are less toxic but cost more.

“We don’t tolerate lead in our gasoline or cooking pots [so] there’s no reason to expose our endangered wildlife to it,” says researcher Jeff Miller of the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity.

The five-member state Fish and Game Commission is scheduled to consider the request at its February meeting in San Diego.



Ashley Powers