Illegal Elk Shooting Threatens Condor Population Due To Lead Ammo Fragments

Yurok Tribal members voiced concern about an alleged illegal elk shooting in Northern California’s Klamath area and the impact the carcasses can have on endangered California condors. Here’s KRCR with more:

On Nov. 12, the Northern California Condor Restoration program performed x-rays on elk that were illegally killed in an area often visited by the condors.

A statement from the Yurok Tribe said the NCCRP found enough lead ammunition within one of the elk’s bodies to kill several condors, which feed off dead animals. According to Yurok Wildlife Department Director Tiana Williams-Claussen, lead is the biggest threat to condors in the wild.

“This is about as close as you can get to a worst-case scenario. If the carcasses weren’t quickly reported, and our free-flying condors accessed them, it is very likely that one or more of the condors would have consumed a life-threatening quantity of lead,” said NCCRP Manager and Yurok Wildlife Department Manager Chris West. “The risk this incident presented to the condors cannot be understated, since at least four of our recently released condors were less than a 10-minute flight from the poaching event at the time that it occurred.”