The death of a juvenile bald eagle has prompted the Nova Scotia SPCA to start raising awareness about the dangers associated with lead ammunition.
Over the weekend, SPCA Chief Inspector JoAnne Landsburg says she helped transport a bald eagle from Sydney, N.S. to the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre near Truro, N.S.
Landsburg says when the eagle arrived at the rehab centre it was showing some “real severe signs” of neurological disorders. After a veterinarian conducted some tests, Landsburg says they discovered high levels of lead contamination was a contributing factor to the bird’s condition.
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Landsburg says officials have determined the eagle likely received lead contamination by eating a “gut pile” from a possible deer killing.
“The awareness we want to bring is that lead ammunition kills more than just the target. Other animals are eating this and it’s contaminating them so we’re really looking to raise awareness so that we can have the sale of lead ammunition prohibited,” said Landsburg.
“We’re not trying to stop deer hunting or any kind of fowl hunting, that’s not our goal here. We’re really looking to ban the sale of lead ammunition.”
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Landsburg says a lot of the birds that come into the Cobequid rehab with lead contamination have levels that range between five and 20.
“This particular bird in question was off the charts at about 65. So really, really high contamination,” she said.
Landburg says the SPCA primarily deals with dogs and cats and being able to see what other organizations like the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre are doing — and partnering with them to raise awareness — is important.
The SPCA has created a video and posted it to their Facebook page to help spread the word about how lead ammunition can impact wildlife.
Earlier this year, the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre told Global News a “concerning number” of bald eagles were being treated for lead poisoning and they were encouraging all hunters to move away from using lead products so that they don’t unintentionally poison bald eagles or other wildlife.