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The fight against wildlife lead poisoning

EAGLE RIVER (WAOW) — The Vilas County Sheriff’s Department officially switched to “lead-free” ammunition that experts say, will save hundreds of birds.

When a dear or other animal is hit and left beside the road, local sheriff’s departments will often shoot the creature to end its suffering. However, the type of bullet used could severely affect the impact on wildlife.

Mark Naniot is the Director of Rehabilitation at Wild Instincts, where he says they’ve taken in 13 eagles this year. All of them have been diagnosed with lead poisoning.

“It doesn’t take much,” said Naniot. “Only a couple of little particles to cause lead poisoning.”

That’s why the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department has officially made the switch.”We’re trying to do something good,” said Lt. Greg Fulton. The county has one of the highest nesting populations of eagles in the state. Now, their sheriff’s department will use lead-free ammunition when dealing with dying animals.

He said the change came after someone from his department brought a sick bird to Wild Instincts.

“They were kind of shocked that this is where the lead comes from and realized that, “hey, we are probably contributing to this,'” said Naniot.

Lt. Fulton said the Vilas Sheriff’s Department takes care of nearly 100 roadside deer each year. Naniot estimates that the change in ammunition, could save hundreds of birds.

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Tom Lally

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