Avian Flu Kills 21 Critically Endangered Condors in 25 Days — Arizona

Avian flu has killed 21 of the extremely endangered California Condors in Arizona in just 25 days.

A species that conservationists had pulled back from the verge of extinction is now confronted by the avian flu, a new and potent threat.

In a little more than a month, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reported that avian flu has claimed the lives of 21 highly endangered California condors.

The Southwest flock of the bird, which crosses the border between Arizona and Utah, has been determined to have the disease, according to the service.

Utah, California, and Baja California, Mexico, have no condors that have been identified as having the avian flu.

21 Individuals Including 8 Breeding Pairs: DEAD

Eight breeding couples were among the dead birds that officials counted between March 30 and May 5, according to the news release.

At Liberty Animal, an Arizona animal rescue, four condors who had the avian flu are currently making a full recovery.

According to the Peregrine Fund, which oversees the Southwest flock, the deaths have probably delayed conservation efforts by a decade or more.

Because the condor is slow to grow, even a single loss in the wild can have a significant impact, according to Chris Parish, president and CEO of the nonprofit.

It will take up to six years before condors can produce young, and with an average of only one young every other year, which changes the recovery process.

Vaccines for Birds

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, vaccinations for endangered birds may be considered as they seek to control the spread.

The Peregrine Fund further stated that it was unclear how influenza spread among condors.

The group argued that condors should be protected because they help the environment by consuming dead animals that could otherwise spread disease to other animals, livestock, and even people.

Critically Endangered Condors

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the condors, which have a 9.5-foot wingspan and are among the largest birds in the world, were on the verge of extinction in the 1980s.

By 1987, the meager number of condors still living in the wild had been put into a captive breeding program in an effort to save the species.

The service started releasing condors that were bred in captivity into the wild in 1992.

According to a report from the Department of the Interior, as of 2020, there were 504 condors worldwide, with 175 of them living in captivity and 329 in the wild.

This indicated that the population has gradually begun to recover.

Also Read: Vicious Peacock Escapes Bronx Zoo, Bites Bystander, Roosts on Nearby Tree 

Threats to the Species

According to CNN, the raptors still face major challenges, such as lead poisoning, which the birds get through scavenging animals shot with lead bullets.

Experts say, this may be one of the deadliest bird flu epidemics to ever occur in the US.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the illness has infected nearly 60,000 caged birds in 47 states.

There is little risk to people because only one human infection has been found in the US.

Related Article: Storm Aftermath: Endangered Hooded Vulture, 5 Exotic Birds Fled Oakland Zoo Through Torn Mesh 

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