Lead within gunshot seeps into the
environment, contaminating soil, vegetation and wildlife. But things are
looking up for the duck season ahead. A new regulation demands that hunters cut
down their lead shot usage by 25 percent. The law is Argentina’s first step
against lead pollution from gunshot, but WCS hopes it will not be the last.
“The government of Santa Fe has set an
admirable precedent in the reduction of lead ammunition in the province’s
hunting grounds, a move that will benefit the region’s people and wildlife,”
said Dr. Robert Cook, Executive Vice President and General Director of WCS’s Living
Institutions. “We encourage other states and stakeholders to begin the same
January WCS researchers began taking a closer look at how this lead exposure affects
wildlife, which sometimes ingest lead pellets. The study examines the density
of lead within the bodies of ducks, living and dead, and within the wetlands
where hunting occurs. So far, the team has collected blood samples from 24 live
ducks and tissue samples from about 300 ducks that were killed by hunters. As
expected, preliminary results show significant levels of lead in the gizzards,
blood, and bones of the ducks tested.
vegetation, and soil samples from areas with and without hunting activity are
also part of the region-wide analysis. Lead, of course, is dangerous to humans,
too, and the research assesses the threats the lead ammunition potentially
poses to human health.
“This is a huge step forward,” said
WCS’s Dr. Marcela Uhart, the study’s principal investigator. “We commend the
government of Santa Fe for acting on the preliminary results of our study. This
is the first such regulation in the country and, hopefully, it will serve as a
model for other provinces to emulate.”
For more information, see the press release.
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