Picture of the Week

Sibling embryos of the bird species Stilt collected from a single nest on the same day from a Tulare Basin evaporation pond in the Southern San Joaquin Valley in 2001. The overtly teratogenic embryo on the left, exhibiting stunted growth, no eyes, deformed bones (in right foot) contained 72 parts per million selenium(dry weight, whole egg), while the overtly normal sibling, on the right, contained 16 parts per million selenium. (photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Selenium triggered massive wildlife deformities in birds at the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge in Merced County in the early 1980s. The deformities were caused by selenium in drainage water from the Westlands Water District moving up the food chain into the birds nesting at Kesterson. The federal government has never enforced international and federal bird protection laws in the Tulare Basin to halt the selenium poisoning.


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