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2nd Calif. condor found shot with lead

April 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A $1,000 reward is being offered after a second endangered California condor has been found with lead shotgun pellets embedded in its body.It's the second such bird in a month.

Defenders of Wildlife is offering the reward that leads to a conviction of those responsible for the condor shootings.

The latest condor was trapped on March 26 in Big Sur and is suffering from lead poisoning, possibly from eating a dead animal that had been shot.

Ventana Wildlife Society biologists treating the juvenile female say they found three lead shotgun pellets, two in a wing and one in a thigh. The condor was sent to the Los Angeles Zoo for treatment.

Last month, 15 lead pellets were found in another condor being tested for lead poisoning.

Kelly Sorenson, director of Ventana Wildlife Society said, "We were alarmed when one condor was found shot, but now with two birds in such a short time, we are deeply concerned."

The adult condor is being kept alive with a feeding tube.

Officials can't say if either condor will recover and be returned to the wild.

An investigation is underway and anyone with information about the shootings is asked to contact law enforcement agencies.

Biologists have been working for decades to reestablish the California condor in the wild. In 1982, there were 22 condors in the wild and now there are 320 of the critically endangered birds.