Flamingos are dying from illegal lead bullets in Greece

Flamingos, photo: Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash
Flamingos, photo: Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

Dozens of flamingos in Greece have died in recent days after ingesting lead bullets illegally used by hunters, a wildlife group said Wednesday.

The Action for WildLife group told AFP it had found 26 dead flamingos in the Agios Mamas lagoon and had been told of several other deaths in nearby wetlands. “We estimate the overall number is much higher,” the group said by email.

The group said it had rescued ten live birds from the area, seven of whom died later. The remaining three are “in very bad shape”.

Stavros Kalpakis, head of the group, told Athens News Agency that X-rays had shown that the flamingos had swallowed the lead bullets.

Last year, the Agios Mamas lagoon saw the first-ever breeding colony of flamingos in Greece but the area is now proving to be deadly for the birds, Kalpakis said. “The problem seems to be located (in this area),” he added.

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

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