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Milestone in the Californian condor project – first chick to fledge in the wild at Pinnacles National Park left its nest

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The last time a Californian condor fledged in the wild at Pinnacles National Park, the first World War was about to start. Now it happened again – a pair raised a chick completely on its own, the first time it happens there since the Californian condor reintroduction project started more than 3 decades ago.

At one point there were only 27 California condors left in the world. Now there are roughly 250 of them. Lead poisoning has been their nemesis – they’re scavengers, feeding on carrion, and often eat the carcasses of hunted animals – so when hunters use lead bullets, that poisons the birds. Lead poisoning is also a problem for our own bearded vultures in the Alps. California banned hunting with lead ammunition last year, but there’s a lot of old ammunition still in circulation.

California condors have also hatched in the wild at Ventana Wilderness, south of Monterey, about 90km away.

Photo: Elaine Miller Bond

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