LA Zoo treats 21 condors for lead poisoning

Endangered Condors Threatened With Lead Poisoning

David McNew/Getty Images

A rare and endangered California condor flies near Marble Gorge, east of Grand Canyon National Park, March 23, 2007 west of Page, Arizona.

Officials say a record 21 California condors have been treated for lead poisoning this hunting season in California.

Veterinarians at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens say three birds were critically sick when they arrived. They were malnourished, had stopped eating and had a disease that causes the stomach to stop moving food.

Dr. Curtis Eng says it's scary to see so many sick birds, but two of the condors are recovering, and one remains in critical condition.

Vets say 18 of the condors were mildly ill.

The birds are trapped twice a year to check for lead poisoning. The condors are getting the lead in carcasses of animals shot by hunters.

California has a new law that will ban lead ammunition, but it won't be phased in until 2019.

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