It’s hypocritical for groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation to tout successful recoveries of the bald eagle while rejecting evidence that links lead ammunition to the poisoning of the species and other wildlife (“Story misrepresents role of hunting,” CDT, 8/14).
In the past 12 months, news media across the U.S. reported on more than 70 bald eagles who suffered or died from suspected or confirmed lead poisoning. In the 10 years since the bald eagle was removed the federal list of threatened species, the media have reported on hundreds of poisoned birds.
These, of course, are only the birds that have been found; the actual number of eagles lead has killed or impaired may be many multiples higher.
Scientists have known for decades that exposure to lead ammunition can poison bald eagles. These birds aren’t eating lead batteries or paint chips, rather they are scavenging on the lead-tainted remains of animals shot with lead ammunition. When wildlife rehabilitators take X-rays of poisoned birds, they find lead bullet fragments and lead shot in their digestive tracts.
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It’s certainly laudable that the Endangered Species Act has helped the symbol of our nation to recover, but in light of undeniable evidence that lead ammunition poisons bald eagles and more than 130 other species, hunters ought to switch to non-lead ammunition to protect our wildlife.
Kristen Tullo, Mechanicsburg
Kristen Tullo is the Pennsylvania state director for The Humane Society of the United States.