Update on lead poisoned condors 463 and 481
Update from The Condor Keepers at the Los Angeles Zoo Condor Lead Treatment Center on the condition of 463 and 481, who are being treated for extremely high lead levels. Condors 463 and 481 have both worn black underline tags but now wear white tags (white63 and white81). This update highlights the heroic and tireless efforts of the Condor Keepers for the survival of the condors.
(originally posted here: https://www.facebook.com/USFWSCaliforniaCondor)
California Condors , male 463 (left) and female 481 are still in the LA Zoo condor lead treatment center after a big meal and a nice bath. Both experienced unbelievable blood lead levels 463’s blood lead level was 450 micrograms per deciliter(4.5 ppm) when he arrived at the zoo on May 29, 2014. This is probably a lethal level in any other bird. He had numerous metal densities in his crop and stomach which had to be surgically removed with two different incisions. One in the crop and one in the abdomen/ventriculus. 463 has been recovering for almost 7 WEEKS here at the zoo. He became very sick from lead toxicity and lost body weight to the tune of 4 pounds(down to about 12 pounds of body weight). He has since gained about 2 pounds in the last 2 weeks but is on lots of meds to ward off infection to his debilitated immune and digestive system. Us keepers have to manually push food from his crop into his stomach because he cant do it himself. He has been spending his nights in doors because of his inability to thermo regulate. Tonight with be his first night outside in a couple of weeks.Female 481 came in insimilar condition on June 26, 2014 with several metal densities in the crop and abdomen. She seemed to be in better shape than 463 so surgery was postponed to see if we could get the metal out naturally. She is in similar shape to 463 but she came in with blood lead level of 560 micrograms per deciliter (5.6 ppm). Many birds with levels like this never live to tell the tale. Wish these two amazingly strong willed birds (and their keepers) luck in the next few weeks for a full recovery. Chandra David, Jenny Schmidt, Debbie Ciani. Michael Clark