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California first state to ban lead ammo for hunting

HUNTING — California will become the first state to ban lead ammunition for all types of hunting, according to a bill signed into law signed today by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The ban is set to be fully phased in by July 1, 2019, in order to protect wildlife and humans from the dangers of consuming lead-shot meat.

Animal rights groups help spearhead the legislation in part to protect endangered California condors, which have been known to die from lead poisoning after consuming lead-bullet-tainted gut piles or meat from animals wounded by hunters.

  • The issues have been the source of debate and research for years.

Brown said the bill protects hunters by allowing the ban to be lifted if the federal government ever prohibits non-lead ammo.

According to the Associated Press, opponents of AB711 argued that non-lead ammunition is more expensive and could be banned federally because it is technically considered to be armor-piercing.

Supporters of the new law say the use of lead bullets also endangers humans who eat game killed with the ammunition.

Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Rendon of Lakewood says the ban makes sense because lead has already been prohibited in paint, gasoline and toys.

In a mixed day for gun owners, Brown vetoed a bill that would have banned future sales of most semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines, part of a firearms package approved by state lawmakers in response to mass shootings in other states.

The bill would have imposed the nation's toughest restrictions on gun ownership.

Brown also signed a measure from Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, which bans kits that allow people to turn regular ammunition magazines into high-capacity magazines.

He also signed two other pieces of legislation, which restrict the ability of mentally ill people to possess firearms.

California condors show progress in reintroduction

ENDANGERED SPECIES — The recovery program to restore the California condor in Arizona has reached its 15th anniversary this month with reason to celebrate.

More than 70 condors are flying wild in the southwest skies.

The Peregrine Fund breeds condors at its World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise and releases them to the wild at its release facility in Arizona. The fund monitors and treats them for lead poisoning and other problems.

Pioneering condor chicks soaring in Grand Canyon

ENDANGERED SPECIES — Two of three California condor chicks that hatched in the Grand Canyon of Arizona earlier this year are doing well, including one that recently took its first flight from the nest.

The other surviving chick is flapping its wings and hopping around its cliff-cave nest, indicating it's ready to fledge, too.

The third chick recently perished, possibly from a fall from the nest, but not before the three chicks and their parents set milestones for recovery of the endangered species:

  • The greatest number of chicks hatched in the wild in one breeding season since the effort to recover endangered condors in the Grand Canyon region began in 1996.
  • The first time during recovery efforts that three chicks were producedin the wild in a single season.

“We remain hopeful that the two remaining chicks will join the ever-growing flock,” said Eddie Feltes, field manager for The Peregrine Fund, an Idaho-based conservation organization that oversees the condor recovery program in Arizona and southern Utah.

Read on for more details.

Condor chick hatches in Arizona

ENDANGERED SPECIES — The number 13 is lucky and worth celebrating in Arizona, where a California condor chick has hatched in the wild at a new nest site near Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, northeast of the Grand Canyon.

This is the 13th chick hatched in the wild since condors were first released in Arizona in 1996. Nine remain a part of the wild population. The new chick is expected to take its first flight and join the rest of the wild flock in six months. It will remain dependent on its parents for approximately 18 months.

Wildlife biologists began monitoring the site several months ago after discovering the parents engaged in courtship and nesting behaviors.

The newest member of the species brings the total number of California Condors in the world to 375. Of those, 194 are in the wild, with 74 in the Arizona-Utah population.

In the 1980s, the population had plunged to just 22. 

Read on for more details.