Loon numbers are threatened. So why aren’t we talking about lead in fishing tackle?

There’s an interesting harmonic convergence in the new issues of Cottage Life and Canadian Geographic: both feature cover stories on the threats to the survival of the iconic Common loon. Curiouser still is that neither story addresses what was considered a significant issue when I wrote about threats to loon survival for the cover story of ON Nature in Winter 2005/06. I’ve posted my story over on my author website, because it goes into the various threats to loon numbers in detail, and I don’t know why lead poisoning has slipped off the radar. At the time, wildlife scientists were advocating the removal of lead from fishing tackle boxes, but Canada had gotten no farther than a 1997 federal ban on lead tackle in national parks and wildlife areas. Nothing has changed. That leaves the vast majority of Canadian lakes off the proverbial hook. As the provincial government explains: “When birds and other wildlife swallow them, they can get lead poisoning.” No kidding.

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