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California Condors in Memoriam
Sex: Female Hatch Location & Date: San Diego Zoo, 4/22/2003 Release Date: 10/7/2004 Parents: #25 & #45 Local Biological Siblings: None Breeding Status: DECEASED 10/23/2009 LEAD POISONING Offspring: None

Condor #303 “Lucia” spent most of her time as a young condor in the Santa Lucia Mountains in Big Sur, California. She became acquainted with Pinnacles condors on the east side of the Salinas Valley and regularly traveled between the two sites. In 2009, she paired up with Pinnacles’ condor #313 and established a nesting territory there, the first in over 70 years. Unfortunately, Lucia died after ingesting lead. The lead fragment was analyzed by researchers at the University of California. The fragment was consistent with lead ammunition. Lead poisoning remains the biggest hurdle to recovery. Lead ammunition can enter the condors’ food supply through various shooting activities including big game hunting, euthanized livestock, poaching and perhaps other ways as well. In July 2008, the State of California banned lead ammunition for big game hunting in condor range. If you shoot firearms, please use nonlead ammunition, not just for the sake condors but other wildlife as well.

Lucia, condor 303, became stricken with lead poisoning while tending her chick in the wild. Lucia was captured and taken to LA Zoo, where she eventually died from lead poisoning despite the courageous efforts of zoo staff and veterinarians. She will be always be remembered as the first female to nest and rear a chick in the wild at Pinnacles in over 100 years and a true matriarch of the Pinnacles flock.

Sadly, Lucia's life was cut short but the efforts continue to build a successfully breeding population of condors in Big Sur.