Lead poisoning of bald eagles on the rise in Pennsylvania

The title of the post explains it all, but if you’re like me and you’re writing another “In The News” about PA wildlife, then this one may be up your alley. Being an avid hunter my entire life, I can say that I do care about the wildlife that resides in my backyard. This time there is an extremely simple fix to our hunting routine that will have the potential to save many Bald Eagles in Pennsylvania and let them thrive further than they are now.

According to the article, Bald Eagles across the states are beginning to show signs of lead poisoning (eg. weakness, drooping wings, lethargy). Under further testing, the PA game commission had found that there was in fact lead poisoning in their blood and tissues. Once the tests for lead poisoning comes back positive, the wildlife rehabilitation centers can undergo treatment to get this heavy metal out of their systems. They eventually get to leave the rehab centers and get back to nature but are watched for any signs that may indicate they’re getting sick again. The data collected by the Pennsylvania Game Commission suggests that since 2006, over one-third of all the Bald Eagle deaths were related to toxins and lead is the most common toxin. Bald Eagles used to be on our threatened species list, but since 2014 they are on the protected species list. There are 250 active Bald Eagle nests in the state alone.

It is now being stressed to hunters that we can help make an impact on the safety of Bald Eagles, by simply burying or properly discarding the guts that are normally left in the fields and woods that we harvest them. These guts provide the eagles with lead that they do not need, and at harmful levels, too. They, along with other animals, may also be getting lead by our fishing lures/sinkers and the lead ammunition that they can possibly ingest by finding them on the ground post-hunt.


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