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California urges caution around coyotes after Inland Empire attacksIn October, a 3-year-old girl living near Alterra Park was bitten three times by a coyote that attacked while she played outside. The girl survived. Morse, of Fish and Game, said he didn't know what's driving the attacks, but they aren't the norm.
Peregrine falcons in California's urban areas are contaminated with toxic chemicals
The birds were endangered by DDT in the '70s. Now, scientists have found that falcons in cities including Los Angeles contain record-high levels of flame retardant.
By Marla Cone
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Friday May 9, 2008
California's peregrine falcons, once driven to the edge of extinction by the pesticide DDT, now are contaminated with record-high levels of other toxic chemicals that may threaten them again.
State scientists have found that peregrines in Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Francisco contain the highest levels of flame retardants found in any living organism worldwide.
The findings parallel studies that have detected high concentrations of the chemicals, known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, in human breast milk, particularly in California women.
The compounds, which mimic thyroid hormones and can damage developing nervous systems, have spread to wildlife and people worldwide, working their way up food webs.
The concentrations found in California's urban peregrines are similar to those that cause neurological damage in lab mice and rats, resulting in reduced motor skills and altered behavior.
Scientists said the peregrines, the fastest and most agile birds, are being contaminated with the industrial chemicals from eating urban pigeons that scavenge on city streets. One bird egg, taken from the Port of Long Beach, had the highest level of any egg -- 52 ppm. Other birds with highly contaminated eggs had nested on high-rises in San Francisco and downtown L.A., including the Union Bank building. Included was a popular pair that San Francisco residents named George and Gracie. The recovery of the peregrine, known as the bird of kings because of its prized role in falconry, has long been hailed as one of the nation's greatest ecological success stories.
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