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Wildlife Workshop focuses on getting the lead out

Experts will discuss lead's impact on local fauna, efforts to reduce exposure


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: MICHAEL DURHAM - Animal-care specialists examine a bald eagle admitted to Portland Audubon's care center this spring. With an assist from the Oregon Zoo's Future for Wildlife program, Audubon is conducting a study of lead poisoning in local raptors. Lead poisoning has been called one of the most preventable environmental health problems. Since the 1980s, lead has been eliminated from paint, gasoline and plumbing. The toxic metal remains a threat to wildlife however, and this week, experts will convene at the Oregon Zoo to determine how to get the lead out of Northwest animals.

“Wildlife and Lead,” a daylong workshop presented by the Oregon chapter of the Wildlife Society, takes place Friday at the Oregon Zoo banquet center. The workshop aims to provide an interactive forum where Northwest wildlife professionals can learn about and discuss the effects of lead on the area’s wild animals and birds. Experts and specialists from across the region will review what is currently known on the topic and address ongoing efforts to reduce exposure.

“Reducing wild animals’ exposure to lead is one of our most pressing concerns in the Pacific Northwest,” said Oregon Zoo Director Kim Smith, who will speak at the workshop’s morning session. “Our goal is to create an environment where native birds like the majestic bald eagle and the highly endangered California condor can thrive here the way they once did.”

Though native to the Northwest, and commonly seen here during the time of Lewis and Clark, California condors haven’t soared through these skies for more than a century. For the past decade, the zoo has participated in the national California Condor Recovery Program, breeding the critically endangered birds for release at sites in California and Arizona, while also advocating for the eventual return of free-flying condors to the region. Accumulated lead poisoning is the biggest obstacle to the condor’s comeback.

Registration for the “Wildlife and Lead” workshop is $50, which includes refreshments and lunch. Students with valid ID may attend for $40. For a detailed schedule and information on how to register, visit wildlife.org/oregon/UpcomingWorkshops or call 503-231-6952.

The Wildlife Society is a nonprofit scientific and educational association dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education.



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