California Condor Found Dead 

Jack Lancaster grew up in Southern Utah and enjoys exploring and especially fishing the canyons that carve through the red cliffs. He and some friends hiked down to the Colorado River to camp and fish at a place called Vasey’s Paradise. 


While down the canyon, Lancaster noticed some black feathers behind a boulder further up the bluff. Hiking to it, he discovered the remains of a California Condor decaying on the rocks. He took pictures, then called the Division of Wildlife Resources when he got back in cell service. 

The DWR asked him to call the Peregrine Fund that is an organization that works to prevent the extinction of peregrine falcons and other birds including the California Condors in Utah and Arizona. 



Everyday Heroes Save the Day for Condors 

When Lancaster reported the death of the condor to the Peregrine Fund, they described how these large birds often die from lead poisoning. When a hunter kills a coyote or other animal and the condors, which are scavengers, eat the remains, they also ingest the lead from the bullets. That is what happened to this bird. 

They then sent volunteers and rounded up any condors in the area. They were able to cleanse any lead from the birds' bodies using a process called chelation. They then releases them back into the wild.

The birds did have lead poisoning according to Lancaster, although it hadn’t yet become critical as it had for the bird that died. The work of these volunteers saved the remaining condors. I think that is amazing.

How Can You Help Protect the Condors? 

Half of California Condors that die is from lead poisoning. Educating hunters to use lead free ammunition can make a big difference. There are times during the year those with permits can exchange their lead bullets for free or heavily discounted. 

Read More: Tiny Metal Is Bringing Down California Condors in Utah

These birds are awesome to see soaring high over the cliffs. The work of the Peregrine Fund and others are doing to preserve them is admirable. 

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Gallery Credit: Olivia

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