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Two Loons Die After Ingesting Lead Fishing Tackle

Flkr Creative Commons / KeithCarver

New Hampshire's Loon Preservation Committee says two loons have died after ingesting lead fishing tackle.

One loon was found May 21 on Massabesic Lake in Auburn. An X-ray showed fishing tackle in the loon's gizzard. The bird died overnight, and the state veterinary laboratory confirmed it had ingested a lead sinker.

The second loon was found in the northern part of the state on May 26. A blood test showed lead levels more than times the threshold for clinical lead poisoning, and so the loon was euthanized.

New Hampshire was the first state in the nation to restrict the sale and use of small lead fishing tackle to protect loons in 2000.  A law increasing protection for loons from lead fishing jigs went into effect last year.

Current law bans the sale and freshwater use of lead sinkers and jigs weighing one ounce or less.

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