2020 Cincinnati Zoo Grant Helps Treat Lead Poisoning

From the Spring 2020 RAPTOR INC newsletter

Every year, staff at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden are given the opportunity to request grant funds for conservation projects that are personally important to them. This year, the conservation committee had a particularly hard time choosing which projects to fund, as a large number of highly compelling proposals were received. Senior Aviculture Keeper and RAPTOR Inc. Volunteer, Kimberly Klosterman, submitted a proposal for a Blood Lead Analyzer on behalf of RAPTOR Inc. We are pleased to announce that her proposal was chosen for funding.

Birds of prey are significantly threatened by lead poisoning. Lead can enter the food chain in many ways. Pest species such as rodents or coyotes may not be retrieved by the hunter. Contaminated gut piles from deer may be left behind. Lead fragments that land in water can be consumed by waterfowl feeding on the bottom of the pond. Most birds of prey scavenge, and when they come across animals sick or killed through these means, they can become poisoned as a result of feeding upon such animals.

It can be difficult to accurately separate lead poisoning from other potential ailments in the birds admitted to the Raptor Center for treatment. As a non-profit, RAPTOR Inc. has limited funding for specialized blood tests. The Cincinnati Zoo Grant funds will allow RAPTOR Inc. to purchase a LeadCare II Blood Lead Analyzer System, which will give us the ability to screen more of the raptors admit- ted to the rehabilitation center for lead toxicity. Birds with lead toxic- ity can be treated effectively if the blood levels of lead poisoning are not too high and treatment is initiated quickly.

RAPTOR Inc. wishes to extend our sincere gratitude to Kimberly Klosterman and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden for supporting our rehabilitation efforts. The new equipment will improve our ability to treat local birds of prey suffering from lead toxicity and help us return more of these beautiful creatures back to the wild where they belong!