The California condor’s dramatic recovery from near-extinction was aided by removal of toxic substances from the land, which accumulated in animals whose carrion they ate.
But that recovery may be threatened in coastal condors by DDT-related contaminants in marine mammals, according to a preliminary study led by an SDSU researcher.
Coastal-dwelling condors have more of these compounds than those living inland, the study found. These are presumably absorbed from marine mammal carcasses, said study leader Maggie Stack. This might explain why coastal condors have thinner eggshells than those inland.
The preliminary findings were reported Wednesday by a team led by Stack, a California Sea Grant trainee and a graduate student at San Diego State University. Because the study has not been peer-reviewed, it requires further validation before it can be published, Stack said.