HOW COULD HALF OF AMERICAN BALD EAGLES BE SICK FROM LEAD POISONING?
So the American Bald Eagle is an icon everyone can recognize. As they should! It’s a beautiful, regal animal, easy to identify with its “bald” white head contrasting with its body. They are large, look intense, and are visible on American money, buildings, seals, and more. And while the United States does make the effort to protect these beautiful creatures, they remain in danger from yet another threat. But you’d never guess that threat is… lead poisoning? But yes, lead poisoning is now impacting a huge number of these raptors. But where could these bald eagles possibly get lead poisoning?
STUDY FOUND LEAD POISONING IN BALD EAGLES ACROSS THE COUNTRY, IN ALL SEASONS
Well, the answer is simple and totally infuriating. The American bald eagle is getting lead poisoning from hunters. How? Well, hunters are shooting animals with lead shot. And then bald eagles are coming along and scavenging on the remains, also ingesting lead bullets. So that’s shocking enough. But even more shocking is that half of the eagles reviewed in a study have lead poisoning. And that proportion was consistent across bald eagles’ age, the season of the year, and even their geographic location. In other words, the national icon is now under lead poisoning threat at a national level.
HUNTERS’ AMMUNITION IS THE CAUSE OF NATIONAL CALAMITY, LEAD POISONED BALD EAGLES
So this finding is creating a new awareness of what is a pervasive problem in America, that lead ammunition is a threat to wildlife. Not from getting shot, mind you. But from diet exposure. Because the lead poisoning of half of the American bald eagle population isn’t from a single meal. It’s from repeated exposure. In other words, these raptors are eating lead buckshot repeatedly. So merely listing them as a protected, endangered species won’t do enough. We have to change hunters’ behavior. Use different bullets. Don’t leave buckshot in the wild for animals to eat.
Hopefully, hunters saying they are conservationists is true. And once they get wind of this study, they will act accordingly.