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Reintroducing the California Condor to Big Sur

May 11, 2009 - Update on Condor 286.

Condor 286 healing by the heater
Condor 286 warming by the heater
Condor 286 off feeding tube
Condor 286 off feeding tube
Condor 286 as a juvenile
Condor 286 as a juvenile

Condor 286 was found dead lying in his treatment pen this morning. This is a truly devastating loss. The effort put in to keep 286 alive was truly inspiring and the death of 286 is a gross reminder of the number one threat to the long-term recovery of free-flying condors in California.

As most of you know, Condor 286 was captured in March due to his poor health condition as result of lead poisoning. During a post-capture medical exam, radiographs revealed that he had also been gunshot in the wing, which did not contribute to the lead poisoning. He was sent to LA Zoo where veterinarian and keeper staff struggled to keep him alive. Condor 286 weighed only 10.8 lbs. (less than half his normal weight of 24 lbs) before being hooked up to a feeding tube. The lead paralyzed his digestive system and prevented him receiving nutrition on his own. LA Zoo staff removed the feeding tube a couple weeks ago and he started to show signs that his health might be improving. Yesterday, they noticed he took a turn for the worse and they tried to make a last ditch effort to save him (again!). Overnight, while hooked up to IV fluids and alone in his pen, 286 finally lost his fight with lead poisoning.

Condor 286 was at the forefront of our central California Recovery effort and he will be remembered as key contributor to our elite group of free-flying condors. This flock wouldn't be where they are today without condors like 286...he will be sorely missed."

May 4, 2009 Update
Condor 286 spending some time out side with supplemental heat. He cannot jump up to the stump next to him as he is way too weak. We basically have to set him there where he is sitting and he will just sit there like that for hours and never move.

California Condor Reintroduction

April 8, 2009 Update
Condor 286 at the Los Angeles Zoo after first month of treatment.  Due to severe lead poisoning, his digestive system had shut down temporarily and zoo veterinarians were forced to keep Condor 286 on a feeding tube for weeks.  Fortunately, he surivived this initial and intensive treatment, but is still very weak.

Condor #286 also known as "Pinns" because he is one of the oldest condors released at Pinnacles National Monument, was recently rescued by Ventana Wildlife Society biologists after he was seen exhibiting abnormal behavior. Upon capture, we discovered that he had been severely lead poisoned so we transfered him to the Los Angeles Zoo immediately.

Radiographs were taken right away and he was found to have been shot by a shotgun as well. The lead exposure and the gunshot wounds are unrelated to one another and just exemplifies what terrible things happen to our wild condors. This "one-two punch" nearly killed Condor #286 if it weren't for the rescue effort currently underway. Since "Pinns" is nearly seven years old and was about to breed this is a setback to our efforts.


Please consider making a gift to help us recover condors like "Pinns". The money raised will go toward our field team to rescue other condors in the future, provide education to people in condor country about lead poisoning and the new nonlead ammunition requirement, and conduct critical research on lead poisoning.

Condor 286 body x-ray 5/9/09
Condor 286 body x-ray 5/9/09

Condor 286 wing x-ray 5/9/09
Condor 286 wing x-ray 5/9/09
Condor 286 as an adult
Condor 286 as an adult
Condor 286 as a juvenile
Condor 286 as a juvenile

See the press release