Hunter-Trapper Harvested Wildlife Contaminants and Toxicology, Oil Sands Region
Metals in Mallards (pooled 2013 collections)
Adult male mallards were collected in 2013 in the area surrounding five Alberta communities south of the Athabasca oil sands industrial region (Mayerthorpe, Barrhead, Lac La Biche, St. Paul and Vermilion) and from two communities north of the development area (Fort Chipewyan, Alberta and Fort Resolution, NWT). Liver samples from the mallards were analysed for chemicals of concern.
While metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were often present in the livers of mallards, no obvious spatial patterns were detected. The observed concentrations are not likely posing a risk to these mallard populations.
PAHs and Metals in Mammals (from fisher, American marten, and lynx - pooled 2013 collections)
Adult male fishers, American marten, and lynx carcases were collected by hunters and trappers in 2013 in areas adjacent to oil sands operations, and reference areas outside of the oil sands deposits; the latter areas were located along a transect north of Edmonton, Alberta. Liver samples from these mammals were analyzed for chemicals of concern.
No obvious spatial patterns in the chemicals observed in the liver samples were revealed. The analyses did reveal that lower molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were often present at higher concentrations in the livers compared to higher molecular weight PAHs. Lower molecular weight compound PAHs are typically of petrogenic origin, however, it is unclear whether these particular PAHs detected in wildlife liver samples are attributed to anthropogenic or natural sources.
In comparison to reference areas, nickel was detected at higher concentrations in livers of animals from the oil sands region.
The observed concentrations of the chemicals analyzed are not likely posing a risk to these mammal populations.
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