Andean condor dies of lead poisoning. elvacanudo.cl. August 6, 2012. The National Agriculture Service of Chile (SAG), with the University of Puerto Montt (UPM), carried out efforts to save a female condor, found sick in Palena province. "Unfortunately, this beautiful specimen died due to 6 lead gunshot pellets that were found in her stomach," said the regional director of SAG, explaining that "the analysis conducted at the Veterinary Hospital of UPM, the cause of death was lead poisoning caused by spent gunshot ingested by consuming hunted prey."
The Andean condor is an emblematic bird of Chile and its population is considered vulnerable. It only feeds on dead vertebrates. "I would like to ask sport hunters that abide by the law of hunting, and to be responsible in their actions. We have to implement measures to avoid that scavenging birds that are protected in our country are affected," he said. SAG y UPM have a collaboration agreement to look after and recover wildlife species. "Harmed wild animals that are brought to SAG, are taken care of at the University Animal Hospital. There they run tests to reach a diagnosis about their health and nutritional status", said [a spokesperson]. Dr. Natasha Barrios, the director of the University Animal Hospital explained that "the condor had evident problems, as it could not stand erect, it was very weak and dehydrated, with an extremely poor body condition. It also had severe diarrhea, but no signs of trauma." The exam revealed the presence of 6 lead pellets in the digestive system." Finally, she mentioned that "Birds are very sensitive to lead. 2 or 3 pellets in their gastrointestinal system are enough to trigger an acute case of saturnism." –Communicated by: ProMED-mailSource: ElVacanudo [in Spanish, transl. by Mod.PMB; edited] [The Andean Condor _Vultur gryphus_, the largest flying bird alive, is one of the most iconic species of the Andes. A picture can be seen at http://www.redargentina.com/faunayflora/aves/condor_andino_libertad.jpg. Data from numerous experiments under controlled conditions and extensive investigation of bird mortality events attest to the fact that exposure to lead gunshot is detrimental to individuals and populations of wild birds of any kind. It can cause both acute and chronic poisoning. Carcasses that have been shot with lead ammo and not retrieved are a direct source of lead pellets for scavengers. Also, in areas of heavy hunting, the lead concentration in tissues of apparently healthy prey may be very high, and this dissolved lead is then transferred to predators, scavengers, people who eat hunted birds, or to the soil and water. The information available to date is enough justification for implementing banning policies and carry out mitigation efforts, especially if we consider that alternative non-toxic ammunition is available. A map of the area where the bird was found can be accessed at http://healthmap.org/r/306T. – Mod. PMB A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/r/1Aht.] See Also