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Wednesday, January 31 • 8:40am - 9:00am
CONSERVATION COLLABORATION & GENERAL WILDLIFE: Reducing Lead Exposure in Bald Eagles in the Upper Midwest

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AUTHORS. Ed Britton, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT. Numerous scientific studies have shown that spent hunting ammunition provides a lead exposure pathway in birds. Warner et al, 2014 examined 58 dead bald eagles collected in the Upper Midwest in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Necropsy results identified that 60% of eagles had detectable lead concentrations and 38% had levels for clinical lead poisoning. Radiology of 25 deer gut piles collected from hunters showed that 36% of piles contained lead fragments with over 100 fragments in a single pile. Cameras documented that multiple bald eagles would feed on a single deer gut pile showing that lead ammunition used in deer hunting was an exposure pathway. The Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service subsequently implemented procedures for reducing lead exposure in bald eagles related to deer hunting. Each national wildlife refuge within the region was assessed for lead exposure risk based upon bald eagle population and deer hunter numbers. A three-year (2016-2018) phased outreach program to encourage deer hunters to voluntarily use lead free ammunition was implemented for 54 national wildlife refuges located in nine states. During 2017, 15 national wildlife refuges in seven states implemented outreach programs. Outreach efforts were focused on collaboration with hunters, hunting organizations, conservation partners, state conservation agencies, and ammunition retailers. A multi-year evaluation is being conducted by a doctoral student at the University of Missouri to identify how effective our outreach effort is and to determine if hunters voluntarily made the switch to lead free ammunition. Warner SE, Britton EE, Becker DN, Coffey MJ (2014). Bald eagle lead exposure in the upper Midwest. Journal of Fish & Wildlife Management 5:208-216.

Wednesday January 31, 2018 8:40am - 9:00am CST