Virginia Eagles Getting Lead Poisoning

Group believes shotgun pellets to blame

Thursday, Nov 17, 2011  |  Updated 1:05 PM EDT
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The death of a bald eagle has prompted officials at the Wildlife Center of Virginia to urge hunters to take steps to curb lead poisoning of wildlife.

The eagle died this week after being admitted to the center with high lead levels.

Center officials say that so far in 2011, three of the 29 bald eagles admitted to the center showed signs of lead toxicity and 14 had measurable levels of lead. Many of these birds have ingested lead shotgun pellets or bullet fragments while feeding on animals that have been shot but not recovered, or on the entrails of animals harvested and ``field dressed.''

The center urges hunters to either switch to ammunition that does not contain lead, or bury animals or animal parts left in the field.

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