The purposes of this study were to determine concentrations of cadmium and lead in mink (Mustela vison) in northern Idaho, to discuss potential effects, and to determine whether levels have declined. Mink (skinned carcasses) from the Coeur d'Alene River system (northern Idaho) were ohtained from trappers during the 1981-82 (n = 17) and 1986-87 (n= 14) seasons. Livers of all eight mink from the uncontaminated North Fork contained low levels of lead; whereas, 9 of the 23 mink from lateral lakes adjoining the contaminated main stem, downstream from a mining-smelting complex, contained potentially hazardous lead levels (>5 ?g/g). Stomach contents of nine mink contained variahle concentrations of lead (0.15 to 51 ?g/g); samples from the main stem contained the highest values. No difference was detected in lead concentrations in livers of mink trapped from the lateral lakes in 1981-82 and 1986-87. Levels of cadmium were low in all samples, but lead levels were the highest ever recorded in mink. Our results suggest that metal pollution has probably led to localized declines in mink populations.
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Lead and cadmium concentrations in mink from northern Idaho