DDT breakdown products and lead poisoning still threaten this high profile endangered species-

New Hurdle for California Condors May Be DDT From Years Ago. By John Moir. New York Times.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

3 Responses to New Hurdle for California Condors May Be DDT From Years Ago

  1. Virginia says:

    This article verifies what we were warned of back in the 1980s – that some of these “miracle” pesticides will be with us and our wildlife forever. Again, I always wonder why we wait until it is too late to do anything about these issues – ignoring warnings over and over.

  2. WM says:

    Virginia, this goes back even further than the 1980’s with some of th first warnings in Rachel Carson’s, book Silent Spring (1962). I thought we were over this DDT/DDE egshell thinning nightmare from the 1970’s. Long ago one of my professors studied eggshell thinning in peregrine falcons that nearly lead to their extinction. They bounced back and are healthy today. So much recovered when the chemical was outlawed and no longer applied. Not so, for the residual that has bioavailablity in the aquatic system, and still works its way up the foodchain to sealions and now California condors.

    Here is an interesting link to more current systems dynamics modeling in this area, showing the complexity of this persistent chemical as it moves through the food chain:


    I hope there is the possibility to seek a natural resource damages claim under Superfund to get some money from Montsanto (responsible for this sink of DDT), or its liability insurers.

  3. Virginia says:

    WM – you are right. Rachel Carson was one of the first, but unfortunately people didn’t seem to be listening much to the warnings until it became more “politically correct” to be an environmentalist in the 1970s and 1980s.


November 2010


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey