Common Loons Research Paper

2110 Words 9 Pages
In 2010, New Hampshire lost 11 Common Loons to lead poisoning. Knowing the deaths would be detrimental to a severely threatened population, an investigation of dead loons, collected from 1989 to 2010, was carried out by the Loon Preservation Committee, Dr. Mark Pokras of Tufts University, and Tiffany Grade, a graduate student from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Necropsies and tissue samples showed lead poisoning was responsible for nearly half of all the dead birds examined. Despite legislation in place to ban lead fishing sinkers and jigs, the population of the Common Loon in New Hampshire’s freshwater areas was being adversely affected, which New Hampshire couldn’t afford. Loons are important to the economy as a draw for tourists, but also act as an indicator species. Ultimately, the research showed that the deaths attributed to lead poisoning by fishing tackle occurring in New Hampshire of Common Loons can be prevented by prohibiting certain tackle manufactured with lead.
Keywords: lead poisoning, tackle, Common Loons, New Hampshire
Native Americans called the birds “Spirit of the Northern Waters”, while the French used the name “Diver with the Necklace” (Lake Champlain Life, n.d.). The Common Loon is an iconic symbol of New
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Once human exposure occurs, lead-poisoning can cause organ damage, and in severe cases, can be fatal (World Health Organization, 2016). Though relatively resistant to corrosion, the highly-acidic piscivore diet of Common Loons, coupled with the force of grinding in the gizzard, ingested lead is broken down quickly, and is always fatal (Pokras, Kneeland, Ludi, Golden, Major, Miconi & Poppenga,

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