Three environmental groups are proposing to sue the U.S. Forest Service, saying the agency needs to ban lead ammunition used for hunting in the Kaibab National Forest north of Grand Canyon because it kills endangered California condors.
“At a time when other agencies are stepping up efforts to get toxic lead out of the food chain, the U.S. Forest Service continues to bury its head in the sand, refusing to exercise its authority to protect wildlife on its lands and prevent the needless lead poisoning of Arizona’s condors,” said Jay Lininger, a conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “If we want condors to survive, we must stop using ammunition that contaminates their food supply with toxic lead, especially on our national forests.”
There is not much debate that consumed lead — sometimes in bullet fragments left in remains of hunted animals — kills condors.
Some 22 California condors have died from lead poisoning since the mid-90s, and those that track them test their blood for it routinely.