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Lead still threatening the Californian condor… and the bearded vultures in the Alps!

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The article below gives a poignant report on how lead from hunting cartridges and bullets is thwarting efforts to restore the might Californian condor back to the wild. In the Alps, lead is also one of the main causes of mortality of our own bearded vultures – 5 confirmed deaths in the last 8 years.

Since 2010 the Parco Natural Stelvio and Sondrio Province have been analyzing the carcasses of raptors and ravens to try to quantify the full extent of this problem, and have found out that lead is probably the main driver limiting golden eagle distribution in the Alps and is also killing bearded vultures. Lead poisoning can result from the ingestion of shot carrion, or from absorbing lead from embedded pellets after the birds survive a direct shooting episode (see photo).

The VCF and other partners are working on the matter, and in some regions and/or protected areas hunting with lead poisoning is now banned – Pyrenees, northern Italy (Sondrio and Bolzano provinces) and Austria.

You can read the article on the Californian condor here

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