For years, no one could figure out why birds of prey were turning up with extremely high levels of lead poisoning. The issue made headlines when the newly reintroduced condor in California began dying off from lead exposure. Craighead Beringia South is a group of wildlife researchers in Kelly, Wyoming who were among the scientists who started studying the problem in other species, back in the early 2000’s.
They found that such scavengers as eagles and ravens were ingesting lead bullet fragments left in the elk and deer gut piles left behind by hunters. So they started handing out free copper bullets to see if that helped. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards visited their office in the tiny town of Kelly to talk to researcher Ross Crandall about the results of their work.