A free exchange of lead ammunition and fishing tackle will be held during UINR’s annual Blair J. Bernard Memorial Feast in the Highlands on Hunter’s Mountain on Thursday, October 6, 2016 on the Hunter’s Mountain.

Bring your dangerous lead bullets and fishing gear and exchange for copper ammunition and eco friendly fishing tackle.

Clifford Paul, UINR’s Moose Management Coordinator has seen the effects of lead poisoning in the environment first-hand. “Harvesters in Unama’ki are finding sick and dying eagles. They are being exposed to toxic lead by eating shotgun pellets, bullet fragments or lead fishing gear. And it’s not just affecting eagles, it’s poisoning our food. Lead’s use in gasoline, paint, pesticides and solder in food cans has nearly been eliminated but it is still commonly used in ammunition and fishing tackle.”

Keith Christmas, Unama’ki Guardian Program Liaison Coordinator, encourages people to “get the lead out.” “Most tackle in stores (such as weights and jigs) contain lead. When birds like loons eat fish containing tackle from broken line, or mistake tackle for prey, the result is usually fatal.

Using non-lead fishing tackle made from metals such as steel, tin, bismuth, and tungsten offer safe alternatives to lead and keep wildlife safe for us and future generations.”

UINR’s partners in “Get the Lead Out of the Highlands” are Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters, two organizers that see the effect of lead in the environment.

Helene Van Doninck from the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre treats eagles and other wildlife that have been poisoned by lead. “While lead has been known to be a toxic substance since the 1800s, lead shot and rifle ammunition is still widely used in hunting deer, moose and most other species except waterfowl. Lead poisoning has been documented in over 130 species worldwide, including humans. Birds of prey, in particular scavenging species such as bald eagles, are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning. In fact, up to 25-30% of bald eagles seen in rehabilitation centres across North America are suffering from lead poisoning.”

Feast in the Highlands and Get the Lead Out of the Highlands is scheduled for Thursday October 6 at 12:30 at the paved airstrip 13 km from the Hunter’s Mountain entrance (GPS: N 46.220834 W -60.811577). Watch for distinctive signs marking the route.