Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Interesting article on lead poisoning and the Eagle population

I absolutely love eagles and tend to read everything I can about them.

Lead poisoning hits home

snippets of article:

According to Dr. Luis Cruz-Martinez, a veterinary resident at the Raptor Center, the facility as of Wednesday had received 74 bald eagles this year. Of those eagles, 23 tested positive for lead. There were three positive cases in January, one in February and one in March.

The remaining 18, he said, have come in since Nov. 10 — two days after Minnesota’s firearms deer season opener.


Cruz-Martinez said 30 milligrams of lead can kill a bald eagle, and smaller amounts can hamper respiratory and neurological functions. An aspirin, by comparison, weighs 325 milligrams.


“Basically, what we’re using to hunt animals, to hunt game, is affecting a lot of other wildlife species, and now that lead was found in venison, it’s really very striking the potential danger for people.

“All this research in birds has been telling us the problem,” he said. “Now that it’s gotten into the human (food) chain is when we have our best opportunity to work against this poison to prevent more wildlife mortality and prevent a human disease.”


Cruz-Martinez said the Raptor Center has applied for a grant to embark on what he calls an “interdisciplinary approach” to the lead issue. The project, he said, will look at the social and cultural aspects of hunting, the willingness of hunters to switch to nontoxic ammunition and a campaign to educate the public about the potential dangers of lead to humans, animals and the environment.


quilly said...

Those of us who grew up in mining country know all about the dangers of lead poisoning -- and we use copper jacketed bullets. What part of the country are you from?

Differences like this just boggle my mind. OC tells me that just because my family knows and deliberately buys copper jacketed bullets, doesn't mean everybody in my part of the world does, either. Now I really am shocked. I thought it was common ....

Minkydo said...

Hi Quilly, we are in north western MN. I once lived in Warroad, MN where part of this article took place.

I hadn't realized that lead shot was still used. I knew that fowl hunters and fishermen stopped using lead. I guess I just assumed that hunters would have followed suit.

I'm a bit shocked as well. I hope that people start waking up to the dangers.