You may have heard the story: countless Trumpeter Swans are suffering and dying each year from ingesting toxic lead hunting shot. Nowhere is this occurrence more evident than Judson Lake, a lead shot polluted water body straddling the Canada/USA international border in Abbotsford, British Columbia and Whatcom County Washington.
For decades duck hunters have blasted toxic lead shot into the floor of Judson Lake. Tragically, each winter, countless unsuspecting Trumpeter Swans needlessly die from ingesting the lead shot, thinking it is grit (small stones) needed to help digest their food.
Over 2,000 Trumpeter Swans have died of lead poisoning at and near Judson Lake over the past several years.
Keeping the swans from using Judson Lake the past two winters (2006 - 2008), although done imperfectly, has coincided with a 75% decrease in Trumpeter Swan mortalities near the Canada/US border since 2004 (We've gone from back to back winters of approximately 400 local mortalities down to two consecutive winters with only 100).
Despite the fact that Judson Lake completely dries up each summer, providing the perfect opportunity to remove the lead shot, the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and US Government Wildlife Agencies have not allowed the clean up and restoration of this blatant death trap.
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