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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 1993 Apr;25(2):183-92.

Lead poisoning of raptors in France and elsewhere.

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Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat, Le Sambuc, Arles, France.


Although lead poisoning, through the ingestion of gunshot embedded in prey, is known to have been a significant mortality factor for several raptor species in the United States (Haliaeetus leucocephalus and Gymnogyps Californianus), very little published information is available concerning raptors in Europe. This paper presents the results of liver lead analysis from 222 raptors collected throughout France and reviews other published and unpublished European information. Of the 11 diurnal and 6 nocturnal raptor species investigated in this study, elevated liver lead concentrations, suggestive of shot ingestion, were found in 3 (Accipiter nisus, A. gentilis, Buteo buteo). The likelihood of a species to ingest shot appears related to feeding habits, with scavengers and predators that take game species the most susceptible. Raptor species at risk from lead poisoning, including some of high conservation value, are described, and future priorities for lead poisoning research and policy are suggested.

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