Condor Protection Bill Clears First Legislative Hurdle

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Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee Passes AB 821

(04/10/2007) - Sacremento, CA-- The Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee passed an important bill that will protect California condors from the ongoing threat of lead poisoning by requiring the use of non-lead ammunition within condor habitat in California. The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) and is co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and Mary Salas (D-Chula Vista).

"Lead poisoning remains one of the leading causes of mortality and illness to free-flying condors and is the primary obstacle to successful recovery of the species," said Pamela Flick with Defenders of Wildlife. "We’re pleased that the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee passed this reasonable bill to address this threat and to give condors a real chance at recovery."

Scientific experts and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have concluded that lead ammunition is having a devastating effect on the highly endangered condor and efforts to recover this population. Since condor reintroduction began in 1992, at least thirteen condors have died of lead poisoning, and biologists have had to bring dozens more into captivity for invasive and expensive treatment due to high lead levels in their blood.

"Protections from lead poisoning are long overdue. Lead has already been eliminated from products like gasoline and paint, even shot for hunting waterfowl – so why not from ammunition?" Flick continued. "This is not only a condor issue. Lead also adversely impacts other wildlife, particularly raptors, as well as humans."

The bill would require the use of non-lead ammunition when taking big game (including deer, elk, wild pigs, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and black bear) and coyote within the current and historic range of the condor in California. To the extent funding is available, this legislation would also establish a process that will provide hunters in the region with non-lead ammunition at no or reduced charge.

Assembly Members who voted in favor of AB 821: Wolk (D), Calderon (D), Caballero (D), Huffman (D), Lieu (D), Mullin (D), Nava (D), and Salas (D).

Assembly Members who voted against AB 821: Maze (R), Anderson (R) Berryhill (R), La Malfa (R), and Parra (D).

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Defenders of Wildlife is recognized as one of the nation's most progressive advocates for wildlife and its habitat. With more than 500,000 members and supporter nationwide, 130,000 of which are in California, Defenders of Wildlife is an effective leader on endangered species issues.

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Contact(s):

Pamela Flick, (916) 313-5800 x105
Kim Delfino, (916) 313-5800 x109