Two New California Studies Link Hunting to Lead in Scavenger Birds

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

Science News has a write up about two new studies that investigated the link between lead based hunting ammo and lead levels in scavenger birds. One study shows a strong link between turkey vulture lead levels and whether or not there was hunting of deer or pigs in the area. The other study showed that the California lead ammo ban in California condor range implemented in 2008 also reduced the lead exposure to golden eagles and turkey vultures.

"Hunting is an irreplaceable tool for wildlife management," said Christine Johnson, a UC Davis associate professor of veterinary medicine, "especially now that we have fewer large predators but more invasive species like wild pigs. Yet we know that accidental consumption of lead can make animals and people sick. "It just makes good sense to use non-toxic ammunition, wherever it is available, to protect wildlife as well as eliminate any potential risk to hunters and their families," she concluded.

Comments

PC Science

Face it, the goal is to eliminate lead in amunition at the minimum.  Being a pessimist and this being California, I'm betting the ultimate goal will be the elimination of hunting.

The one study links lead ammo to lead levels in vultures and deer/pig hunting.  Does that mean the birds aren't eating rabbits and ground squirrels shot by varmint hunters?

The other study showed that the lead ban "reduced the lead exposure to eagles and vultures".  Duh!  That means absolutely nothing.  A second grader could tell you that  a ban on lead ammo (or fishing split shot or tire weights for that matter) in condor ranges will reduce the "exposure" to lead.

If the lead ammo ban has been so successful, why are CA condors still on the endangered species list?  Maybe the brainiacs will actually admit that habitat loss & degradation from urbanization may actually be more significant than first acknowledged.  Of course they new this from the start.. It's just a lot easier to take your bullets away than it is to stop yet another subdivision or strip mall from being developed.