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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Sublethal Lead Exposure Alters Movement Behavior in Free-Ranging Golden Eagles

Ecke, Frauke; Singh, Navinder J.; Arnemo, Jon M.; Bignert, Anders; Helander, Bjorn; Berglund, Asa M. M.; Borg, Hans; Brojer, Caroline; Holm, Karin; Lanzone, Michael; Miller, Tricia; Nordstrom, Ake; Raikkonen, Jannikke; Rodushkin, Ilia; Agren, Erik; Hornfeldt, Birger

Abstract

Lead poisoning of animals due to ingestion of fragments from lead-based ammunition in carcasses and offal of shot wildlife is acknowledged globally and raises great concerns about potential behavioral effects leading to increased mortality risks. Lead levels in blood were correlated with progress of the moose hunting season. Based on analyses of tracking data, we found that even sublethal lead concentrations in blood (25 ppb, wet weight), can likely negatively affect movement behavior (flight height and movement rate) of free ranging scavenging Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos). Lead levels in liver of recovered post-mortem analyzed eagles suggested that sublethal exposure increases the risk of mortality in eagles. Such adverse effects on animals are probably common worldwide and across species, where game hunting with lead-based ammunition is widespread. Our study highlights lead exposure as a considerably more serious threat to wildlife conservation than previously realized and suggests implementation of bans of lead ammunition for hunting.

Published in

Environmental Science and Technology
2017, volume: 51, number: 10, pages: 5729-5736
Publisher: AMER CHEMICAL SOC

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies

UKÄ Subject classification

Ecology

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b06024

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/83661