Conservation breeding efforts have brought the endangered California Condor back from the brink of extension to a current population of over 400 at sites in California, Arizona, and Baja California. Yet condor populations living on the coast are showing signs of reproductive problems such as egg thinning, which can be caused by exposure to certain pollutants known as endocrine disrupting compounds. This project aims to provide a detailed assessment of dietary exposure for condors living in coastal habitats.
Dr. Eunha Hoh, professor in the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health and her colleagues received $257,484 for this project which uses a new screening technology to identify whether endocrine disrupting compounds are among the organic contaminants present in coastal scavenging California condors. The project also aims establish if consumption of marine mammals is the primary source of these compounds. In addition, the project will assess the risk of reintroducing California condors residing in Baja California by measuring endocrine disrupting chemicals in marine mammal carcasses collected from the coast of the upper Gulf of California.
The results of this project will be shared with wildlife managers, and could inform species management decisions, specifically in regards to habitat selection. The project will also strengthen biomonitoring techniques, and inform decision makers about contaminants of concern in the coastal region.