Dear RARE supporters, we thought you'd like to know that Jodeane Cancilla, a co-founder of The RARE Group, along with several other authors, has published "Lead Poisoning in Bald Eagles Admitted to Wildlife Rehabilitation Facilities in Iowa, 2004-2014." The article is published in the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. You can read the article here.
The research paper, by tracking 10 years of data taken from bald eagles under the care of wildlife rehabilitators in Iowa, highlights the threat to the environment caused by the use of lead in bullets, fishing lures and sinkers. Lead alternatives are available, such as steel, bismuth and other non-toxic materials.
Jodeane was a perfect person to co-author this study. She began working as a wildlife rehabilitator in 1987, when wildlife rehabilitation was a relatively new profession. Much was unknown about how to care for, house or feed wild animals. One thing they did have was a network that allowed them to work through issues with those facing similar challenges in Iowa. Early on, there were no real regulations for wildlife rehabilitators. Several people from the early days worked with both the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and United States Fish and Wildlife Service to draft comprehensive guidelines that gave conservation officers and rehabilitators a common set of criteria that aided in the capture, care and safe release of wildlife across the state of Iowa. In the late 1990s, many of this same group of people began to notice an increase in bald eagles being brought into their care. Gradually, the pieces started coming together. They saw an increase in birds having significant problems in December, January and February. They were presenting in similar condition, with head tremors, blindness, inability to fly or stand, and they were unable to keep down food. It was affecting older eagles as well as young. The group started really concentrating on the x-rays and blood work, and eventually came to the conclusion that lead poisoning was causing the eagle's problems. In 2004, rehabilitators in Iowa began an independent comprehensive study to document these findings. It was an uphill battle. “Nevertheless they persisted,” and in December of 2017 the combined efforts of the team lead to the article being published in The Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management!
Jodeane would like to extend many thanks to all who have helped with this study. They have contributed to a better understanding of the role we play in becoming better stewards of the land, air and waterways on which we depend.
If you hunt or fish using materials produced with lead, please consider making the choice to go lead-free, and encouraging others to do the same. Thank you for supporting our efforts!