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It is presumed that pesticides caused the death of 34 condors in Malargüe, Argentina

It is presumed that pesticides caused the death of 34 condors in Malargüe, Argentina

In an unprecedented event, 34 dead condors were found in the town of Los Molles, Mendoza. A resident gave notice of the finding to the FBA and immediately the Secretary of Environment and Territorial Ordering of the Province ordered a survey.

To do this, he organized a work team, made up of the province's Fauna authorities, the Rural Police, the Cullunche Foundation, the Mendoza Ecopark, the Argentina Bioandina Foundation, the Bs As Ecopark, and CONICET researchers, to investigate what happened. Fauna Nación authorities were summoned to join in working on this case.

At an altitude of almost 3,000 m, the work team evaluated the distribution of the corpses, positioning them with GPS. It was verified with a microchip reader that none were previously marked. The specimens were found to be piled up and partially burned.

A total of 34 (thirty-four) dead condors were found, distributed in a small area. Despite the deterioration of the corpses, 20 males and 14 females were identified. Based on plumage coloration, 30 adults, 1 sub-adult, 2 juveniles and 1 undefined were determined. It should be noted that a cougar (Puma concolor) and domestic animals (goats and sheep) were also found dead in the place, which suggests a case of poisoning. Necropsies were completed at the Mendoza Ecopark, X-rays at the Cullunche Foundation, and samples were derived for toxicological studies at Bs As.

Within the framework of the Andean Condor Conservation Program, more than 260 condors have been rescued from all over the country, many of which arrive injured or killed as a result of the ingestion of toxic baits. Unfortunately, some villagers illegally use poison to try to control large carnivores (puma, fox, etc). With this, they not only cause the death of scavengers, in charge of maintaining the cleanliness of the environment, but also contaminate the soil, water and endanger all forms of life, including human life.

But the case of Los Molles stands out for its number. It is enough to clarify that the dead condors far exceed the condors that can live in Venezuela today and represent almost half of those in Ecuador. Thanks to the satellite transmission studies carried out by the PCCA, it is known that the province functions as a biological corridor for this species. Condors tagged satellite and released in Mendoza, have joined with their flights, the province of San Juan, Mendoza and even Chile. For this reason, the impact of the deaths in Los Molles affects the populations of the entire region.

In Mendoza, the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) is declared a Provincial Natural Monument by Law No. 6,599 / 98. And protected by Provincial Law No. 4602, with its amending Law No. 7308 and Regulatory Decree No. 1890/05. While Mendoza adheres to National Law No. 22,421 on wildlife conservation. Within the classification of fines in the Province, the penalty in pesos for affecting this species ranges from $ 35,560.- to $ 222,250.-.

The authorities are investigating who could have committed the act and highlight the need to create laws that guarantee the traceability of pesticides. Today there are no legal regulations in the country that allow the sale of these products to be followed up to users. Its use endangers all forms of life, including human.

When apredator -foam or fox- kills one of its animals, the breedersthey poisonthe remains of the corpse that these species leave aside to continue eating the following days. "Generally these people usecarbofuran, which is an agrotoxic ”, added the head of the Department of Fauna of Mendoza toThe AndesAdrian Gorrindo, who indicated that this illegal practice aims atcontrol large predators -and who are considered threats to its production-.

In this way, when the carnivores return and continue to satisfy their hunger,they ingest the poison with which their prey was sprinkled, and they die. “It is a practice that is used a lot. But it also puts thescavenger species, which feed on the remains left by predators. And here enters the sceneCondor”Gorrindo continued. This practice even puts other species at risk as well as itself.human being with thesoil and water contaminationof the area.

For this reason, it should be noted that in the presence of dead animals, those who find them do not touch anything, leave the place immediately and give urgent notice to the local fauna authorities.

For more information contact:
Secretariat of the Environment and Territorial Planning.
Cullunche Foundation. Te 261 3633078
Bioandina Argentina Foundation: www.bioandina.org.ar
Interactive Ecopark of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires: (011) 48080163


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