Leech Lake, Muskoka

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Dead Loon - Final Report

We received the final Wildlife Diagnostic Report
generated by :
Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre
Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College
University of Guelph, Guelph.

The earlier preliminary diagnosis of death by lead poisoning of this adult male loon was confirmed in the final report. The report states that lead at 7 parts per million wet weight is sufficient to cause death. In the case of our loon the bird had many times that level in its liver and kidney.

The stomach of the loon contained grinding rocks, fishing line, snap-swivel, and an eroded lead fishing weight.

The report went on to say that "lead poisoning, caused by ingestion of lead fishing weights, accounts for approximately one-quarter of the mortality in adult loons that we have diagnosed from submissions during the nesting season."

When we fish on Leech Lake we must be ultra careful with our fishing gear. Make every effort to retrieve snagged lures, lines and sinkers. Better yet, refrain from using lead weights. If we catch a fish and the hook is too deeply embedded to retrieve do not throw the fish back into the lake as a loon might capture and eat that fish with possible dire consequences.