California Fish and Game Commission Shoots Down Toxic Ammunition

State Approves New Regulations to Protect Endangered California Condor from Ongoing Threat of Lead Poisoning

(12/07/2007) -

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today the California Fish and Game Commission took historic action by requiring the use of non-lead ammunition in an effort to reduce lead poisoning of critically endangered California condors. Lead poisoning is the primary cause of death among North America’s largest birds. Condors and other scavengers suffer lead poisoning when they ingest lead bullets or bullet fragments from animal carcasses shot with this toxic ammunition.

“We applaud the commission for taking this important regulatory action to protect California’s iconic condor from lead poisoning—the species’ most substantial obstacle to recovery,” said Pamela Flick, California program coordinator for Defenders of Wildlife. “The commissioners have taken a significant step toward protecting our endangered wildlife and the public from this highly toxic substance,” said Flick.

The new regulations will cover the current and historic range of the California condor, which encompasses a roughly horseshoe-shaped region from Big Sur, south to Ventura and east through the southern Sierra Nevada. All hunting of big game, non-game mammals and non-game birds in the affected area will require the use of non-lead centerfire ammunition. The new regulations will go into effect on July 1, 2008.

“The struggle to bring the critically endangered California condor back from the brink of extinction has gone on for years,” said Flick. “The Fish and Game Commission deserves our thanks in staying true to their mission to ensure the long-term sustainability of our state’s fish and wildlife resources, and in doing so help ensure that condors will continue to soar over California for future generations to enjoy.”

Learn more about what Defenders is doing for California Condors.

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.  With more than one million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.  For more information, visit



Pamela Flick, (916) 203-6927
Kim Delfino, (916) 201-8277