Lead shot poisoning flamingos in Greece: wildlife group

Dozens of the flamingos have died in the wetlands of Agios Mamas after ingesting lead shot, according to the Action for WildLife
Dozens of the flamingos have died in the wetlands of Agios Mamas after ingesting lead shot, according to the Action for WildLife group

Dozens of flamingos in a northern Greek lagoon have died in recent days after ingesting lead shot illegally used by hunters, a wildlife group said Wednesday.

The Action for WildLife group told AFP it had located 26 dead flamingos in the Agios Mamas in Halkidiki peninsula, and had been told of several other sightings in nearby wetlands.

"We estimate the overall number is much higher," they said by email.

The group said it had recovered 10 live birds from the broader Halkidiki area, seven of whom had subsequently died. The remaining three are "in very bad shape", it said.

Stavros Kalpakis, head of the group, had earlier told state agency ANA that X-rays had shown that the flamingos had swallowed the lead, rather than being shot.

The Agios Mamas lagoon in Halkidiki peninsula last year saw the first-ever breeding colony of flamingos in Greece but is now proving deadly for the birds, Kalpakis said.

"The problem seems to be located (in this area)," he added.

Hunting has been restricted under a coronavirus lockdown imposed in November but the ban is flouted.

The use of in wetlands as been illegal in Greece since 2013 but is still widely used in these areas, groups say.


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