Here is the thing, condors deserve to be protected, they are beneficial in cleaning up the “leftovers.” I am not sure what you meant by “why would we want to protect a large scavenger.” Why wouldn’t we?
They have their place in the animal kingdom, and have been around for a long time. To allow them to continue to die from lead poisoning is not acceptable to many of us. Also, bullets do not have to be made from lead.
California switched in 2008 to mandatory nonlead ammunition for hunting in that state’s condor range and hunters there have easily transitioned to hunting with nonlead bullets. There has been no decrease in game tags or hunting activity. There have only been three lead-poisoning deaths of condors since the regulations went into effect — and incidentally, eight condors in Arizona have died from lead poisoning during that same period.
Sportsmen have been required to use nonlead ammunition for hunting waterfowl for the past two decades, saving millions of birds from lead poisoning. It’s time for our forests and wildlife to get the same kind of benefits, because ultimately, no animal in Arizona should die from preventable lead poisoning.
Also, these large birds were poisoned by eating tainted meat, not from being shot themselves.