23 Andean Condors Poisoned in Argentina

Conservationists Say Attacks are Severe Threat to the Species


23 Andean Condors Poisoned in Argentina

Birdlife.org reports at least 23 Andean condors have been poisoned in the Patagonia region of Argentina.

The remains were found by locals who alerted the authorities.

Necropsies conducted revealed that the birds had died after ingesting a concentrated organophosphate pesticide.

The poisoned Andean condors. © Aves Argentinas. Photo by Samantha Moreno
The poisoned Andean condors. © Aves Argentinas. Photo by Samantha Moreno

Although the use of concentrated pesticides has been banned in Argentina, this form of pesticide is more accessible and cheaper than buying traditional poisons such as rat poison.

These attacks follow ones in Jujuy and Mendoza provinces and have conservation organizations extremely worried, as they represent a severe threat to the species.

The Andean condor is a near-threatened species with just under 7,000 living in the wild
The Andean condor is a near-threatened species with just under 7,000 living in the wild

Pesticides and Poisons Pose Contamination Danger

In many regions of Argentina, ranchers coat dead animals such as sheep or cows in strong pesticides or poisons to ward off potential predators such as foxes, pumas or even dogs that could threaten their herd.

In this case, authorities found the remains of several more birds of prey, domestic animals, and cows in the same region where the condors were killed, indicating that the motivation was to deter predators.

This practice, however, is dangerous not only for wildlife, but it can also contaminate the surrounding air, water, and soil, affecting nearby livestock and even humans.

Unfortunately condors, as carrion feeders, are very heavily impacted by the poisoning of animal carcasses.

Law Regulating Pesticides Needed

Aves Argentinas (BirdLife Partner) is working to get the government to approve a law which would regulate the prescribing and traceability of agrochemicals.

Then authorities could control the sale and use of pesticides such as the one used to kill the condors.

The Andean condor is found in the Andes mountains and adjacent Pacific coasts of western South America
The Andean condor is found in the Andes mountains and adjacent Pacific coasts of western South America

Andean Condon Near Threatened

The Andean condor is near threatened, with just under 7,000 individuals thought to be living in the wild.

It lives along the Western coast of the South American continent.

One of the largest birds in the world, its full wingspan is over 3 meters.

Although the Andean condor can live for up to 75 years, it only reproduces every two years, which makes it difficult for the bird’s population to grow quickly.

Birdlife.org reports, more than 90 condors have died in Argentina this year alone due to pesticide poisoning.

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