Hunters in condor country can get up to two boxes of free lead-free rifle ammunition from the Ventana Wildlife Society.
The giveaway is an effort to get hunters to use the lead-free ammo that is required by state law in the condor range, which includes all of Monterey and San Benito counties, according to Wildlife Society executive director Kelly Sorenson. The 2008 Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act requires the use of non-lead ammunition in the condor range in California.
Lead poisoning from spent lead ammunition in the food supply of the endangered California condor remains the No. 1 hurdle to full recovery for the species in the wild, he said. Condors ingest fragments of lead ammunition found in carcasses of animals that were shot and not recovered in the field, Sorenson said, and also quite likely from the piles of entrails left in the field when a hunter guts an animal he or she has killed.
In 1987, the last free-flying California condor was captured from the wild, and an effort was initiated to save the species from extinction by raising the birds in captivity.