Once hunted to the brink of extinction, California condors are beginning to make a steady recovery. Thirty years ago there were only 20 birds in the wild. Now there are over 200. But biologists say this growing population of condors is facing a new threat. They’re being poisoned by lead bullets they sometimes ingest when eating dead animals killed by hunters. The California Legislature has approved a bill banning hunters from using lead-based ammunition. But critics, including hunting groups and the National Rifle Association, say the lead is likely coming from sources other than bullets, and that using bullets made with other metals may create more problems than it solves. We discuss the legislation, which is awaiting action by Governor Jerry Brown.
Don Saba, chemist and executive director of Sierra Bioresearch and board member of the National Rifle Association
Jennifer Fearing, chief economist and California senior state director of the Humane Society of the United States