Nearly half of US bald eagles suffer lead poisoning

WASHINGTON (AP) — Researchers report harmful levels of toxic lead were found in the bones of 46% of bald eagles sampled in 38 states. Similar rates of lead exposure were found in golden eagles, according to their study Thursday in the journal Science.

Scientists say the raptors likely consumed carrion or prey contaminated by lead from ammunition or fishing tackle.

Bald eagles are one of America’s most celebrated conservation success stories. But scientists say that high lead levels still suppress eagle population growth and reduce their ability to withstand future challenges, such as climate change and infectious diseases.