North American Crane Working Group

 

Date of this Version

1997

Document Type

Article

Citation

Spalding, Marilyn G., Stephen A. Nesbitt, Martin J. Folk, Lee R. McDowell, and Maria A. Sepulveda. Metal consumption by whooping cranes and possible zinc toxicosis. In: Urbanek RP, Stahlecker DW, eds. 1997. Proceedings of the Seventh North American Crane Workshop, 1996 Jan 10-13, Biloxi, Mississippi. Grand Island, NE: North American Crane Working Group. pp. 237-42.

Comments

Used by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.

Abstract

Fourteen captive-reared whooping cranes (Grus americana) were transferred to a pen for soft-release in Florida. Nine were killed by predators within 6 months. We found metal objects in the stomachs of 6 of these 9 either by radiography or at necropsy. All 6 had elevated serum zinc (Zn) concentrations (x = 10.3 ± 2.7 flg/ml, range 7.2-14 .ug/ml) when compared to 3 without metal in their stomachs (X = 2.4 ± 0.92 flg/ml, range 1.6-3.4 J1.g/ml). We observed lethargy, abnormal posture, anemia, and elevated white blood cell counts in 2 cranes at or near the time of elevated serum Zn. The metal was surgically removed from these 2 and they appeared to recover. Metal debris from chain-link fence construction was the primary source of ingested objects.