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White-tailed eagles avoid large bullet fragments during consumption of carcasses


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White-tailed eagles detect and avoid the ingestion of large metal particles (larger than 8 mm) but ignore smaller metal particles whilst feeding on shot mammalian carcasses. Lead-based bullets split into numerous small metal fragments when penetrating an animal's body, whereas lead-free rifle bullets either deform without leaving any particles in the tissue or fragment into larger particles. Thus, the use of lead-free bullets may prevent lead poisoning of scavengers. These findings have recently been discovered by scientists of the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) and are now published in the scientific journal European Journal of Wildlife Research.


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