Natshoot & CHASA Research on Lead Fragments in Remains of Harvested Game


VOL. 16 (48) - 04-09-2020


Dear Member,

The first Saturday of September is International Vulture day.

The high incidence and serious nature of the poisoning of our wildlife is a threat the National Poison Working Group, and it’  Lead Task Team must manage. 

Despite the serious nature of the increase of poisoning of our wildlife, there is a growing concern for the negative effect of unintended secondary lead poisoning on the conservation of our already endangered vulture species in this country.

Natshoot and CHASA have been conducting research on the incidence of lead fragments remaining in skulls, carcasses and gut-piles of South African furred game after being harvested with lead-based bullets.

In the spirit of making a contribution to the conservation of our endangered vulture species, Natshoot and CHASA have suggested some management inputs on game farms to minimise vulture and scavenger access to lead fragments remaining in the leftovers of harvested game. 

The Natshoot and CHASA research shows that significant numbers of lead and copper bullet-jackets remain in especially skulls of harvested springbok.  Significant numbers of lead and copper bullet-jackets also remain in carcasses and in gut-piles of springbok harvested with lead-based bullets.

Due to the high acidic nature of the vulture stomach, lead fragments picked up in leftovers of harvested game are dissolved and overtime causes a build-up of lead in the bone and feathers of vultures, eventually leading to the vulture’s death.

In order to minimize vulture access to lead fragments in those parts of harvested game usually put out for scavengers and vultures to feed on after game had been harvested, Natshoot and CHASA have compiled a concise guide for game farmers, game cullers and people who stock so-called vulture restaurants in which we make suggestions on how to try and minimise vulture access to lead fragments in such leftovers.

You can read the Natshoot and CHASA research results and proposed management of leftovers of harvested game to minimise vulture exposure to lead fragments, on this web page


Kind Regards, Natshoot Office

The posting of this Newsletter communicated to all members on 04-09-2020 via Email