The California condor is one of the world’s most critically endangered species. Once North America’s largest bird was reduced to a total population of just 22 individuals. Thanks to the tireless efforts of scientists and managers there are now more than 450 condors, with over half living in the wild. Despite this success story, condors remain under threat from various anthropogenic sources, the most serious of which is lead poisoning from spent ammunition. As obligate scavengers, condors feed dead animals, a significant portion of which are the leftover parts of hunted game. These leftovers often contain the fragments of lead bullets, which find their way into a condors body, blood, and bone.
To help combat anthropogenic threats to California condors our lab uses cutting edge technology to track, analyze, and model the movements of these birds in the human dominated landscape of Southern California. In partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Cellular Tracking Technologies, U.S. Geological Survey, and with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, our research team has helped develop new ways of understanding condor movement ecology and new strategies for sustaining the species in the wild.
Our future work with the California condor will revolve around the use of accelerometer data/technology as well as the political ecology of condor conservation.
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