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Condor Chick Born in Wild Dies

October 02, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

The first condor chick born in the wild this year has been euthanized after suffering from a respiratory disease and a punctured gut, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said.

The 4-month-old chick was taken to the Los Angeles Zoo on Sept. 11. It was underweight, had lost its tail feathers and was suffering from respiratory distress and a blockage of the digestive tract, said Greg Austin, project leader at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Shortly after its arrival at the zoo, the chick became sick and scientists found plastic, rubber and metal objects it had been eating in the wild, Austin said.

Scientists tried to save the bird but its lungs were already too damaged and its body was riddled with abscesses, Austin said. "They were surprised that it was still alive," he said.

Last year, all three condor chicks born in the wild died. Scientists will have to wait until December or January when some of the birds reach breeding age for a chance at the next generation of condors born in the wild, Austin said.

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