Rare Condor Suffering From Lead Poisoning Treated at Oakland Zoo | NBC Bay Area
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Rare Condor Suffering From Lead Poisoning Treated at Oakland Zoo

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    A rare condor has been transported to the Oakland Zoo to receive treatment for lead poisoning. Mark Matthews reports. (Published Wednesday, June 3, 2015)

    A rare condor has been transported to the Oakland Zoo to receive treatment for lead poisoning.

    The bird, named Miracle, was the first wild chick born after the 1980s captive breeding program credited with saving the species.

    The Oakland Zoo is the only condor treatment facility in Northern California.

    California's two flocks of condors are in Big Sur and at the Pinnacles National Park.

    Officials said lead poisoning is a reoccurring problem with condors in the wild. Veterinarians said birds are ingesting spent ammunition lodged in the bodies of dead animals who have been shot and abandoned.

    Miracle was found to have lead levels four times higher than the threshold set by the mangers of the state's condor program, which prompted authorities to pull her from the wild to undergo treatment at the Oakland Zoo.

    "Ultimately we do have to treat them because the lead will kill them," said Andrea Goodnight, a veterinarian at the Oakland Zoo.

    Goodnight said Miracle is responding to treatment and has a good chance of surviving her stay at the zoo.

    Authorities said there are only 240 condors in the wild in California and are listed as critically endangered.

    Meanwhile, Firearms Industry Trade Association members said bullets are not to blame for condors suffering from lead poisoning.

    "Condors are exposed to other sources of lead in the environment and that lead from other sources has the same isotope range as traditional ammunition, which is made with recycled lead," said Lawrence Keane, vice president and general counsel of the Nationals Shooting Sports Foundation.

    The Oakland Zoo is streaming Miracle's treatment and rehabilitation on its website.

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