CITES Appendix I and II. A large-scale, integrated captive-breeding and reintroduction programme, managed by The Peregrine Fund (at the World Center for Birds of Prey), Los Angeles Zoo, Oregon Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park is preventing extinction in the wild. The success of the scheme has seen an increase from one chick hatched in 1988 to an annual hatch of 25-30 birds in recent years16. The genetic diversity of the population has been maintained through careful distribution and representation of founder genotypes at each captive-breeding facility and reintroduction site. Consequently the current population retains 99.5% of the likely heterozygosity of a wild panmictic population20. "Aversion training" to avoid powerlines and humans is practised6. A total of 154 condors were released into the wild between 1992 and 200316. Clean carcasses are provided for reintroduced birds to help prevent lead-poisoning, and community education programmes aim to minimise persecution1,2,4. A huge step has been taken towards eliminating the threat of lead-poisoning with the signing in 2007 of the "Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act" which requires the use of non-lead ammunition within the species's range in California and was implemented on 1 July 2008. As of February 2009, 99% of hunters were compliant with the act. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is now distributing safer lead-substitute bullets free of charge to hunters within the foraging range of the condors, and similar programmes are being initiated in California14 and planned in Utah32. Publicity measures include a website and near-weekly condor articles in local newspapers11. In 2008 an agreement was struck between the Tejon Ranch and five conservation organisations to preserve 240,000 acres of the 270,000 acre property as an open space in return for not opposing the development of the remaining land, providing a vast amount of foraging habitat for the condor25. Legislation planned to come into force in early 2010 will make it illegal for persons to enter a U.S. national park with a loaded firearm31. Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue to monitor population trends. Continue the recovery plan to achieve two disjunct, self-sustaining populations of 150 individuals comprising 15 breeding pairs4. Identify further potential release sites in southern New Mexico1,2,6. Resume release programme in Mexico. Maintain and increase the productivity of the captive population1,6. Continue releases of captive-bred birds1,6. Maintain suitable habitat1,6. Continue and expand information and education programmes1,6. Continue supplying alternative lead-free ammunition to deer hunters. Advocate strongly for a ban on lead ammunition and lobby the Fish and Game Commission to ensure legislation is passed.
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