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Posted Wed Mar 4 2009: from Environmental Health News:
Migrating vultures succumb to lead
An increasingly rare species of vulture that migrates from Mongolia to overwintering grounds in South Korea can pick up enough lead along the way to poison and kill them. Lead poisoning may be the reason a globally threatened species of vulture is frequently found dead in the wild. The vulture is native to Europe and Asia. One large population overwinters in South Korea near the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Researchers examined 20 dead birds found in the area. They analyzed the animals' kidneys, liver and bones for lead and other metals. They found very high levels of lead in these birds. Fourteen individuals had potentially toxic levels in their liver and kidneys.... The results also highlight that wildlife can transport toxic chemicals to new locations where it can then enter different food webs. The authors suggest that the birds may pick up the poisonous lead during their migration by feeding on other animals that are contaminated with the heavy metal. The lead might come from ammunition used for hunting.
[Read more stories about: contamination, ecosystem interrelationships, heavy metals, toxic buildup]

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