Should Oregon ban the use of lead ammunition? (Poll) – The Oregonian

Tuesday we reported on the trials and tribulations of the first Oregon Zoo-hatched California condor ever to be set free.

Though the bird known as condor No. 340 has found a mate at Big Sur along the California coast, and the pair may produce an egg this season, they’ve had a tough year.

In January, both birds suffered lead poisoning and underwent chelation therapy at the Los Angeles Zoo. For the male, it was the sixth time he required the treatment, which uses chemicals to remove heavy metals from the blood.

Should Oregon ban the use of lead ammunition?

Lead ammunition is believed to be the chief cause of lead poisoning in California condors, federally listed as a critically endangered species. Like other scavengers, condors can become poisoned when they eat the remains of animals shot with lead ammunition – for instance, when hunters leave behind gut piles without burying them.

Nearly every free flying condor in California has been treated for lead poisoning. Not all survive.

Researchers say a switch to non-lead ammo has led to a dramatic drop in the number of condors living in Arizona and Utah that required chelation: 11 this year, down from 28 last year.

According to the National Wildlife Health Center, the most significant hazard to wildlife is through ingesting spent lead shot and bullets, lost fishing sinkers, tackle and related fragments, or through eating wounded or dead prey containing lead shot, bullets or fragments, or gut piles left behind by hunters.

California is the first state to ban lead ammo; it will phase it out by 2019.

We wonder how Oregonians, many of whom are longtime hunters, would feel about such a law in this state. Take our poll and let us know your stance.

— Katy Muldoon

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