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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke votes for toxic lead bullets

By Amy Brunvand

On his first day on the job, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke caved to pressure from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and overturned an Obama Administration policy banning lead ammunition.

Lead is a neurotoxin that is a particular problem for vultures and other scavengers which are poisoned when they eat carcasses of animals that have been shot with lead bullets. In 2016, a pair of California condors hatched a chick
in Zion National Park, but the chick died after one of its parents was killed by lead poisoning.

Mr. Zinke, did you know that the California condor has a 60-year lifespan if protected from poachers and lead bullets? It is one of the rarest birds on earth. With a wingspan of almost 10 feet, it is North America’s largest land bird. It  became extinct in the wild in 1987; the 27 remaining birds were bred in captivity and offspring reintroduced in Zion and the Grand Canyon in 1991.


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This article was originally published on April 5, 2017.