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Efforts to Protect Condors From Man-Made Perils Succeeding

July 21, 1993|SARA CATANIA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

VENTURA — The five remaining California condors in the Los Padres National Forest near Fillmore are being more cooperative in staying away from populated areas after a series of accidental deaths caused by man-made hazards, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday.

Thanks in part to efforts to keep the birds from harm, the young vultures have avoided the power lines blamed for the deaths of two condors and have kept to more remote stretches of the 53,000-acre Sespe Condor Sanctuary, wildlife service biologist Jean Tinsman said.

Meanwhile, a Long Beach man was sentenced by a Los Angeles judge to two years probation and fined $1,500 for shooting at one of the condors last March.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Gadbois Jr. on Monday sentenced Cesario Quinteros Campos, 32, after prosecutors said Campos took several shots at the condor.

The bird, a 2-year-old named Xewe, escaped unharmed. Xewe was released into the wild as part of the 12-year, $15-million Condor Recovery Program based in Los Padres National Forest.

A warrant remains for the arrest of Campos' brother-in-law, Ricardo Contreras Tirado, 23, who also was accused of shooting at the condor.

In June, a year-old female condor died after colliding with a power pole near California 126 east of Fillmore. In late May, another year-old female was electrocuted by a power line in the same area. A third condor died last October after swallowing antifreeze that had been dumped on the ground near Pyramid Lake.

Jagged, triangular anti-perching devices recently installed on power poles near Fillmore have helped keep the birds away, Tinsman said, adding that the birds' curiosity may be waning.

Nine field biologists and assistants have been working full time to monitor the birds and lure them deeper into the wild with large, condor-colored kites and a weekly diet of 40 pounds of decomposing calf carcasses.

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