Nearly 10,000 swans of six species or subspecies from 14 countries have died from poisoning caused by lead that originated from ingestion of fishing weights, shotgun pellets (shot), or contaminated vegetation or sediments associated with mining and smelting wastes. Lead contamination in mute swans in England caused local population declines during the late 1970s and 1980s. More tundra swans died from lead poisoning than any other species. The extreme record involved an estimated 7200 tundra swans that died over five winters at one locality in North Carolina. The recent legislation to ban lead fishing weights in most of England and Wales and recent replacement of lead shot with steel shot for waterfowl hunting in the United States and a few areas of Europe, including Denmark, are expected to reduce the incidence of lead poisoning in swans.
Additional publication details
A review of lead poisoning in swans
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C: Pharmacology, Toxicology and Endocrinology