Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sad that people are so paranoid

that the government wants to take their guns away that they'll let a nearly-extinct species die rather than switch to steel or copper ammo. Or even worse, plug them with birdshot due to resentment.

Lead poisoning is still killing condors: Even with lead bullet ban, bird's death shows problem remains

Condors, which after all are large carrion eaters, eat small animals deemed pests that are shot. Eating the lead ammunition, however, poisons the bird. Condor no. 286's death--which is spotlighted in the article--was particularly hard on biologists working to save the species because he was just getting to the point of breeding. A recent ban on lead ammunition seems to be helping, although the birds are still in danger, especially from die-hards who refuse to switch to more expensive ammo or who make it a gun or property rights issue. Lead has been suspect in a few deaths; other birds have required life-saving measures. Sadly, 286 and another condor both showed signs of having been shot at as well.

But amid the concerns, there is some hope. Twenty-seven years ago the last known remaining 22 condors were rounded up for a captive breeding programme. There are now 171 reported living in the wild and another 150 in zoos. Let us hope that the species prevails despite the actions of a few. Most hunters and sportsmen, after all, support conservation and the management of wildlife. But the species is on such a precarious position given its small numbers and tiny their gene pool. It may take a few miracles, but I hope this majestic bird will survive.

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