For Immediate Release, Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Contact: Adam Keats, (415) 436-9682 x 304, (415) 845-2509 (cell)
Tejon Ranch Again Seeks Permit to Harm
California Condors and Other Rare Wildlife;
Permit Request Coincides With Condor Lead Poisoning Crisis
LOS ANGELES— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today a revised scoping notice associated with Tejon Ranch Corporation’s application for permission to “take” or harm the iconic and extremely endangered California condor and other rare wildlife. The corporation is seeking federal permits under the Endangered Species Act in association with its massive development plans in the Tehachapi Mountains north of Los Angeles.
This new version of the proposed permit specifically seeks to exclude Tejon Ranch’s hunting program from the list of activities covered by the permit, in spite of the fact that AC-8, one of the last condors to be born in the wild, was shot and killed on Tejon Ranch in a hunting event authorized in 2003.
The revised application also coincides with recent reports of a huge spike in lead poisonings of southern California condors, suspected to be caused by ingestion of lead ammunition shot by hunters on Tejon Ranch. At least seven condors have been found with lead poisoning in recent weeks.
Although Tejon Ranch announced a ban on lead ammunition for all hunting and predator control beginning last fall, and claims on its Web site that it requires the use of non-lead ammunition for all hunting on its property, Tejon has been slow to implement the ban. Recent condor poisonings suggest that it is not enforcing its own rule.
“Tejon Ranch’s noxious development plans will inflict terrible harm on the wildlife of the ranch, including the California condor, as demonstrated by this permit application,” said Adam Keats, urban wildlands program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “And Tejon Ranch’s ‘promise’ to ban lead ammunition appears to be nothing more than one more effort to greenwash those plans. Their efforts should not be rewarded.”
One of the condor’s last bastions of wild habitat is threatened by mega-developments in northern Los Angeles and southern Kern counties, planned by the Tejon Ranch Company, a publicly traded company largely controlled by investment funds. The Center for Biological Diversity is actively opposing these projects.