Assessing Health Risks of Anticoagulant Rodenticides Exposure in California Condors
Condors are one of the most endangered bird species globally. The exclusive scavenging behavior of California condors makes them particularly susceptible to exposure and bioaccumulation of contaminants found within carcasses. A recent analysis of liver tissue samples from deceased condors found more than half were exposed to at least one anticoagulant rodenticide, presumably from consuming agricultural pests that have been poisoned. The USGS will lead a new study to quantify the level of anticoagulant rodenticide risk to condors and evaluate potential physiological effects. They will also determine the applicability of using surrogate obligate scavengers to test for exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides, both in existing condor populations as well as at potential future release sites. Results will be used to develop guidelines for the California Condor Recovery Program to minimize the threat of anticoagulant rodenticides to condors.