Bolivia investigates possible poisoning of 35 Andean condors

Condor flying in the air
Condor, photo: Sebastian Seck on Unsplash

Bolivian environmental authorities on Sunday announced an investigation into the deaths, most likely by poisoning, of 35 Andean condors in a rural community.

“It is an irreparable injury to our nature and the species,” the environment and water ministry said. They confirmed that the 35 dead condors had been discovered in the rural community of Laderas Norte, in the southern department of Tarija.

Authorities believe the birds were poisoned, possibly several days ago, though it is not clear if the poison was meant for the condors.

“There is a probability of poisoning directed at them or other animals, but since condors are scavengers, they still succumb,” said biologist Diego Mendez, according to the news site Pagina Siete

“We condemn the act, we want it to be investigated. It is an act that hurts us. In this department, condors live and coexist with the (rural) communities without any problem,” Tarija governor Adrian Oliva told reporters.

The massive Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) has a 3.5-meter (11.5-foot) wingspan, making it one of the largest flying birds.

Globally, there are some 6,700 condors, but numbers are declining. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the condor as “near threatened” on its watch list.

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