Wildlife workshop at zoo aims to get the lead out

Experts will discuss lead’s impact on local fauna, efforts to reduce exposure

Lead poisoning has been called one of the most preventable environmental health problems. Since the 1980s, lead has been eliminated from paint, gasoline and plumbing. The toxic metal remains a threat to wildlife however, and next week, experts will convene at the Oregon Zoo to determine how to get the lead out of Northwest animals.

"Reducing wild animals' exposure to lead is one of our most pressing concerns in the Pacific Northwest."

—Kim Smith, zoo director

"Wildlife and Lead," a daylong workshop presented by the Oregon chapter of the Wildlife Society, takes place Nov. 22 at the Oregon Zoo banquet center. The workshop aims to provide an interactive forum where Northwest wildlife professionals can learn about and discuss the effects of lead on the area's wild animals and birds. Experts and specialists from across the region will review what is currently known on the topic and address ongoing efforts to reduce exposure.

"Reducing wild animals' exposure to lead is one of our most pressing concerns in the Pacific Northwest," said Oregon Zoo director Kim Smith, who will speak at the workshop's morning session. "Our goal is to create an environment where native birds like the majestic bald eagle and the highly endangered California condor can thrive here the way they once did."

Though native to the Northwest, and commonly seen here during the time of Lewis and Clark, California condors haven't soared through these skies for more than a century. For the past decade, the zoo has participated in the national California Condor Recovery Program, breeding the critically endangered birds for release at sites in California and Arizona, while also advocating for the eventual return of free-flying condors to the region. Accumulated lead poisoning is the biggest obstacle to the condor's comeback.

Registration for the "Wildlife and Lead" workshop is $50, which includes refreshments and lunch. Students with valid ID may attend for $40. For a detailed schedule and information on how to register, click here or call 503-231-6952.

The Wildlife Society is a nonprofit scientific and educational association dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education.

Register here

The Oregon Zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, Western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats.
The zoo relies in part on community support through donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation to undertake these and many other animal welfare, education and sustainability programs. The zoo is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26 at exit 72. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Find fare and route information online or by calling TriMet Customer Service at 503-238-RIDE (7433).
General zoo admission is $10.50 (ages 12-64), $9 for seniors (65 and up), $7.50 for children (ages 3-11) and free for those 2 and younger; 25 cents of the admission price helps fund regional conservation projects through the zoo’s Future for Wildlife program. A parking fee of $4 per car is also required. Additional information is available by calling 503-226-1561.

Media contact: 

Hova Najarian | 503-220-5714 | hova.najarian@oregonzoo.org