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- California condor
Avian flu vaccine shows promise for California condors
The USFWS plans to release vaccinated birds into the wild
Early results suggest that a vaccine can help protect California condors from a deadly strain of avian influenza. In a trial, 10 condors received an initial injection, followed by a booster shot three weeks later. Biologists say 60% of the birds showed an antibody response that should protect them from the highly pathogenetic avian influenza.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to release about two dozen vaccinated California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) by the end of the year in California and Arizona. The agency is trying to determine if condors in the wild also should be captured and inoculated.
“We’re all kind of waiting with bated breath to see what the final results are going to be,” Tiana Williams-Claussen, wildlife director for the Yurok Tribe, which has worked to reintroduce the raptors, told the Associated Press.
The deadly virus poses an additional risk to the endangered birds, which face threats from lead poisoning and other factors. Fewer than 350 California condors exist in the wild.