Acta Vet. Brno 2013, 82: 55-59

The impact of using lead pellets on lead contamination of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) in the Czech Republic

Zdeňka Hutařová1, Olga Čelechovská2, Vladimír Večerek1, Zdeňka Svobodová1

1University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Toxicology,
2Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Chemistry, Brno, Czech Republic

The aim of the study was to assess the degree of lead contamination in mallards in the Czech Republic as a result of using lead shots for wildfowling. Two sites used for mallard hunting were chosen, namely a flood-control reservoir in Moravia and a small fishpond in Bohemia. Lead concentrations were determined in the tissues of 20 mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) raised at those standing open water sites (n = 10 at each site) and killed there during the autumn hunting season with a steel shot. Control groups were made up of 20 mallards from the same breeding facility as experimental groups but raised in an enclosure without access to water (n = 10 at each site). Lead concentrations were determined in selected tissues (breast muscle, heart, liver, gizzard, kidney, feathers - quill base, lung, brain and humerus) by high resolution continuum source atomic absorption spectrometry. The results showed elevated lead concentrations in all tissues of mallards compared with control in the reservoir in Southern Moravia. The highest lead concentrations (mg/kg) were found in the humerus (14.254 ± 4.525 and 5.083 ± 0.748 for experimental and control mallards, respectively). In contrast, lead concentrations in mallards from small fishpond in Southern Bohemia were lower compared to control. Similarly, the highest lead concentrations were found in the humerus (2.219 ± 0.349 and 8.930 ± 1.012 for experimental and control mallards, respectively). This study extends very limited information about lead contamination of wild ducks in the Czech Republic in connection with hunting activities.


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