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Anticoagulant rodenticides are used to manage rodent pests but can pose risks to raptors and scavenging birds that feed on poisoned prey.

The California condor, a federally endangered scavenger, is routinely exposed to contaminants through its food. Researchers evaluated anticoagulant rodenticide exposure in California condors across their current range in California and Arizona. The team also tested surrogate turkey vultures in northern California where condors have since been released by the Yurok Tribe and National Park Service. Exposure was detected in 42% of the condor livers tested and 93% of turkey vultures. There was evidence of prolonged blood clotting time in 16% of condors, a symptom of secondary poisoning. Exposure appears to be widespread in all current flocks within the U.S. and there is potential for exposure in the newly established flock. Information on exposure risk could impact management decisions including evaluating future condor release sites.

Herring, G., Eagles-Smith, C.A., Wolstenholme, R., Welch, A., West, C., and Rattner, B.A., 2022, Collateral damage- Anticoagulant rodenticides pose threats to California condor recovery efforts: Environmental Pollution, v. 311, 119925.

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