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JWM: Lead tackle sinking NH loons

Cara J

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Lead tackle is responsible for nearly half the deaths of adult loons in New Hampshire, a recent study found, reducing the bird’s population in the state by 43 percent. “This is having a very large effect on the loon population,” said TWS member Tiffany Grade, a biologist with the Loon Preservation Committee and lead author on the study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management. Grade and her team examined necropsies of loons performed between 1989 and 2012 and found 48.6 percent of their deaths resulted from toxicosis from ingesting lead tackle — mostly jigs and sinkers. The result was a 1.4 percent drop in the population growth rate of loons, a state-listed threatened species in New Hampshire. “We’ve been able to increase the loon population in New Hampshire through intensive management work over the years,” Grade said. “Lead has been the literal weight holding back the recovery.” Tufts University’s Dr. Mark Pokras prepares a necropsy for a loon that died of lead poisoning after ingesting lead tackle. ©Loon Preservation Committee Based in part on this research, new state regulations went into effect in 2016 banning most lead tackle. That should decrease the problem, Grade said, but lead poisoning will [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/jwm-lead-tackle-sinking-nh-loons/

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