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The decade-long effort to bring condors back from the brink of extinction suffered a setback this winter when three of the 74 condors in Arizona died of lead poisoning as a result of eating fragments of lead in the carcasses of deer killed by hunters in and around the Grand Canyon.

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Deaths shadow condors’ long comeback tale

Lead poisoning claims three Grand Canyon condors out of wild flock of 74

The dreaded signal sounded just after Christmas — the sustained tone that indicated Condor 127 had stopped moving. Word passed quickly through the tight ranks of the small team of biologists that have labored for the past decade to re-establish condors in the wilds of the Grand Canyon, from a release site atop the Vermillion Cliffs.

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