The Ventana Wilderness Society says efforts to restore the condor population in California could be threatened by hunters´ bullets.
The great birds are not being shot, however.
Blood tests on nine condors the society captured a week ago showed eight had been exposed to lead.
The tests are part of routine checkups the society conducts twice a year on the 17 condors that have been freed along the rugged Big Sur coast.
Lead poisoning is the top killer of adult condors. It has killed four birds in Arizona and one in Southern California.
Condors are scavengers. If the carcass they´re dining on has a bullet in it, the condor is likely to eat that along with the animal´s remains. If it´s a lead bullet, that lead can get into the bird´s system.