Lead ammo and tackle poisoning bald eagles in Central PA

Local News

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The toxic chemical, lead, is harming our country’s national bird, the bald eagle, and is a growing threat to all birds of prey.

Lead poisoning is something Centre Wildlife Care has seen time after time.

“All of the adult bald eagles and golden eagles that we have gotten since we’ve gotten our blood lead machine have been positive for lead,” said Robyn Graboski, executive director & founder of Centre Wildlife Care.

Yesterday, the Huntingdon County Game Commission gave them another bald eagle with a deadly amount of lead toxicity. Graboski said it’s not only eagles who are impacted.

“We have treated dozens of birds in the past year for lead toxicity, including ducks, geese, swans, vultures, and especially bald eagles,” said Graboski.

Lead toxicity happens when these birds consume the carcasses of animals and fish that have been hunted using lead ammunition and tackle. It gets into their bloodstream and they become very sick, weak, and uncoordinated.

“They’re more likely to get into trouble, get injured, get hit by cars, fly into things, and also get grounded,” said Graboski.

Yesterday’s eagle received immediate treatment at Centre Wildlife Care and was transported to a veterinarian this afternoon.

“We are successful in treating them and releasing most of them that come in with lead toxicity, but we have to get to them,” said Graboski. “Some animals never get to us in time.”

This is preventable and hunters can help by using non-lead ammo, such as steel or copper.

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