Thanks to Conservationists, California Condor Stages Comeback

Nov 29, 2022

In 1987, scientists began a last-ditch effort to save the condors. The birds are North America’s largest bird species. They rounded up the last 27 California condors  and took them to special facilities. Their goal was to breed the birds. 

Those efforts are working.

California just released more condors into the wild. Now, there are over 300 condors flying free. Many are nesting and breeding on their own. About 200 are still in captivity. That population growth led the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to predict that the number of California condors could “rebound,” according to The Guardian.

California condors remain on IUCN’s critically endangered list. They face threats in the wild. Condors are meat-eaters. They also have huge wingspans. Some are as long as 9 feet. The birds, though, are scavengers. They eat dead animals for food. As a result, they are vulnerable to lead poisoning from hunters’ bullets left in animals. 

To protect the birds, California banned lead bullets. The state also prohibited the use of pesticides and certain poisons that can harm condor eggs.

The Yurok Indigenous community is happy to see the birds are coming back. The people of this tribe are from California. The condor has long been sacred to the Yurok. One leader of the Yurok tribe told The Guardian, “Condor reintroduction is a real-life manifestation of our cultural commitment to restore and protect the planet for future generations.” 

Photo by Thomas Fuhrmann courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Which of the following facts about California condors explains why they are vulnerable to lead poisoning from hunters’ bullets? (Common Core RI.5.1; RI.6.1)
a. They are sacred to the Yurok Indigenous community.
b. They are scavengers.
c. They have huge wingspans.
d. There are still about 200 in captivity.
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