SAFETY

DWR officials taking steps to protect California condors

Oct 3, 2022, 8:30 PM
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are offering prizes to hunters in the Zion hunting unit, who help prevent lead-poisoning of endangered California condors. Frier/ Nikon, Scott - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library System

SALT LAKE CITY — In an effort to protect the endangered California condors, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is asking for the assistance of hunters.

DWR officials are offering prizes to hunters in the Zion hunting unit. In order to win, hunters must use non-lead ammunition. Hunters can also claim a prize by removing all of the remains of the big game from the field if using lead ammunition.

All of this is meant to prevent lead poisoning of California condors. 

“Lead poisoning is the leading cause of death for free-flying condors in Utah and Arizona,” DWR Avian Conservation Program Coordinator Russell Norvell said in a news release. “A frequent source of that lead is the remains of shot animals, a common meal for condors and other scavenging wildlife.”

He says the Hunters Helping Condors program is helping to reduce lead exposure. This assists in the recovery of these birds that play an important role in the ecosystem.

According to a news release from the DWR, there were only 82 California condors in the world in 1982. With safety steps put into place over the years, including a breeding program, there are now more than 500 birds. Roughly half of those birds are flying free in the wild.

The DWR says there are roughly 114 California condors in the wild near the Utah/Arizona border. 

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