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3 California Condors Die Of Lead Poisoning

A conservation group says three California condors found in northern Arizona and southern Utah have died of lead poisoning and three others had toxic levels of lead in their bodies.

California Condor
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Above: California Condor

The Peregrine Fund said Tuesday that biologists recently began capturing and testing nearly 30 of the endangered birds in the region after a hiker reported seeing a dead condor in the Grand Canyon.

X-rays showed one bird had 18 shotgun pellets in its digestive system, another had six pellets and a third contained the remains of a spent bullet, suggesting the condors died after eating carcasses of animals that had been shot.

Of the birds captured, two died in addition to the bird found by the hiker. The other three were treated and released back into the wild.

Officials are urging hunters to use non-lead ammunition.

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