Less than two months after California's legislature and movie-star governor banned lead bullets to protect condors, the state's Fish and Game Commission has expanded the ban. The new rule requires non-lead ammo in smaller guns — the kind used to hunt squirrels and rabbits. Lead bullets from small-game firearms has been implicated in condor poisonings in Pinnacles National Monument.
Return of the Condor author John Moir described why lead is the primary threat to condors in our December issue.
Meanwhile, the Greater Sage-Grouse has made headlines in the weeks since we reported that last summer's Murphy Complex fire destroyed 75 known leks in Idaho and Nevada.
Last week, a federal judge ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review its "tainted" 2004 decision not to list the sage-grouse as threatened or endangered. And the Interior Department has promised Senator Ron Wyden that it will review disputed endangered-species decisions on many more species, including Greater and Gunnison Sage-Grouse, Northern Spotted Owl, and Marbled Murrelet.
In addition, volunteers in Idaho are collecting sagebrush seeds to restore habitat lost in the Murphy Complex fire. The seeds will be planted this winter and spring. — M.M.