Researchers see fewer condors with lead poisoning

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Updated: 3/13/2014 6:31 am

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Wildlife conservationists say the number of California condors suffering from lead poisoning is one of the lowest in nearly a decade.

Officials with The Peregrine Fund announced Wednesday that tests show a significant drop in the percentage of condors in Arizona and Utah that have toxic levels of lead.

Biologists with the Idaho-based nonprofit say data from September shows 16 percent of the endangered birds trapped and tested had dangerous blood-lead levels, down from 42 percent the previous season.

Wildlife officials say 11 birds have been treated with lead-reducing therapy, compared to 28 last year.

Officials say last year was the second-worst on record for condor deaths and lead exposure since their 1996 reintroduction in Arizona.

Researchers say the decrease may be due to more hunters using non-lead ammunition.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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