California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus). Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. Conservation status: critically endangered. The California Condor is North America's largest bird with a wingspan of nearly 10 feet. Its range once extended over most of the continent. It flies at altitudes up to 15,000 feet. By the time of westward expansion in the United States, the condor's range was reduced to the mountains of the Pacific Coast. Shooting and poisoning by humans decreased its numbers to 600 by 1890. Lead poisoning is the leading cause of deathamong condors. As carrion feeders, condors are extremely vulnerable to lead poisoning when they ingest lead shot. Hunters must now use non-lead ammunition in condor recovery areas. In 1982, there were just 22 condors left in the wild. Initiated in 1975, the California Condor Recovery Program is a cooperative effort by federal, state and private agencies in the westernUnited States. Controversial debate over how to best manage the condorresulted in all 22 remaining birds being captured by 1987 to start acaptive breeding program. Chicks hatched from the incubated eggs must behandled and raised using condor puppets so the chicks do not imprint onhumans. Lead poisoning is the leading cause of death among condors. As carrion feeders, condors are extremely vulnerable to lead poisoningwhen they ingest lead shot. Hunters must now use non-lead ammunition in condor recovery areas. In 1992, the first condors were released in the wild and the first wild condor chick hatched in 2002. Condors have been re-introduced in various locations in Arizona, California and Baja California, Mexico.