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California Condor

California Condor

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - An endangered California condor that was being treated for lead poisoning at the Los Angeles Zoo has died.

Tests showed the bird had 10 times the safe amount of lead in its bloodstream after it was caught in central California last month. Only about 300 California condors remain in the world.

Condors nearly went extinct in the 1980s but a captive-breeding program has brought the bird back. More than 100 fly free in the skies above parts of California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.

Researchers believe the condor may have ingested lead paint or soil contaminated with lead bullet fragments. The California Fish and Game Commission is considering a ban on lead ammunition for hunting in condor habitat.

Arizona's Game and Fish Department has a program offering copper bullets to hunters in some areas. That's part of an effort to cut lead exposure to the giant vultures, who often eat bullet fragments while feasting on dead animals left behind by hunters.

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