UTAH — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) and the Peregrine Fund is asking those hunting in the Zion hunting unit to make a stop at check stations in the area to help protect the California Condor. Hunters will be eligible to win a prize if they use non-lead ammunition or remove all big game remains from the area if they are hunting with lead ammunition. Lead is particularly harmful to California Condors, and hunters can do their part to help the endangered bird by participating in the program.
The program, Hunters Helping Condors, was launched in Utah in 2011 as a means for hunters to do their part in helping the giant birds. California Condors have been on the endangered species list since 1967. By 1982, the population of California Condors had dwindled to just 22 left in the world. Thanks to a successful captive breeding program, there are now 114 condors between Arizona and Utah.
“Lead poisoning is the leading cause of death for free-flying condors in Utah and Arizona,” DWR Avian Conservation Program Coordinator Russell Norvell said. “A frequent source of that lead is the remains of shot animals, a common meal for condors and other scavenging wildlife. The Hunters Helping Condors program is helping to reduce lead exposure, which is helping in the recovery of these unique birds that play an important role in the ecosystem.”
For each big game permit drawn for the Zion Unit, hunters are issued a coupon to obtain free or heavily discounted non-lead ammunition. During October, participating hunters can win one of five $800 gift cards donated by the Peregrin Fund that can be used to purchase outdoor equipment.
“We greatly appreciate all our partners in this program and all the hunters who make an effort to assist in the conservation of this incredible species,” Norvell said.
Check Stations are open from 11 a.m. to dusk, with specific days differing between the two stations. A complete list of dates open and locations can be found on the UDWR website.