OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – A giant endangered California condor is getting nursed back to health at the Oakland Zoo.
The bird, which is being routinely tracked by scientists, was brought to the zoo Thursday from Pinnacles National Park in Monterey County. Tests had revealed the condor had lead in its system from eating an animal that had been shot.
“So when they come down and eat the animal they get a full gullet of lead shot and then that makes them have lead toxicity in their blood stream,” said Dr. Alex Herman, the zoo’s director of veterinary medicine.
The zoo will treat the condor for the next couple of weeks, with hopes of eventually releasing the bird back into the wild.
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, lead poisoning is a serious problem for the birds, whose population dwindled to just 27 in the late 1980s. A captive breeding program helped has helped increase the population to 488, with 312 in the wild as of 2018, but the birds remain endangered.