A California condor named Miracle has arrived at Oakland Zoo for veterinary care. The female is the first condor to be treated for lead poisoning in 2015 at Oakland Zoo. Upon capture by biologists, Miracle’s lead levels were too high to register on the in the field test kit, thus she was immediately brought to the zoo. Oakland Zoo’s Condor Care Team examined and X-rayed her, then began chelation treatment to remove the lead from her body.
Miracle, a California condor, has arrived at the Oakland Zoo in California, to be treated for lead poisoning. When she was captured by biologists for her semi-annual checkup in Pinnacles National Park, she tested positive for lead poisoning … Her lead levels so high, they couldn’t even register on the field test kit. She was immediately sent in for transport, and the Oakland Zoo’s Condor Care Team examined and X-rayed her, then began chelation treatment to remove the lead from her body. “When a bird’s blood levels are high, it’s critical for us to take them in for veterinary care,” said Rachel Wolstenholme, the manager of the Pinnacles Condor Program.
So how is Miracle doing? She’s living up to her namesake, it seems. “Despite such a high blood lead level, Miracle is feisty and alert,” said Dr. Andrea Goodnight, DVM, associate veterinarian at Oakland Zoo. “Hopefully, this rapid intervention will lead to rapid release back to the wild.”
Miracle will continue to be treated at the zoo’s Steve and Jackie Kane Condor Recovery Center for one to two weeks and then will be released back into the wild in Big Sur, California when her lead levels are lowered through treatment.
Miracle was the first completely wild chick born in over a century in Big Sur, California. She was born on May 23, 2009 and her appearance was a truly miraculous event, according to the condor recovery program. “Back then, it was a ‘miracle’ but now we know that condors can and will survive without our help as long as lead poisoning can be significantly reduced,” said Kelly Sorenson, executive director at Ventana Wildlife Society. This condor was hatched, reared and fledged without management or intervention; that was why she was named Miracle by Ventana Wildlife Society. Miracle can be seen flying and exploring a wider range of the Central Coast, which includes trips to Pinnacles National Park.
The public can check in on Miracle as she recovers via the FedEx Condor Cam here.