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Levels of toxic and essential elements in arctic fox in Svalbard

Abstract

Concentrations of cadmium, mercury, lead, arsenic, selenium, copper, zinc, manganese and iron in liver, and cadmium in kidneys, were analysed in 95 carcasses of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) caught in Svalbard during three winter seasons from 1984 through 1986. The hepatic concentration ranges of cadmium, mercury, lead and arsenic were 0.1–2.4, 0.01–2.2, < 0.5–2.9 and 0.01–1.3 μg·g−1 WW, respectively. The range of cadmium concentration in the kidneys was from 0.2 to 13 μg·g−1 WW. Cadmium and mercury concentrations were higher in adult animals than in juveniles. The average concentrations of cadmium and lead were similar to recently published levels in polar bear from Svalbard, but the mercury concentrations were lower. Significant geographical differences were observed between trapping areas. Foxes caught north of Isfjorden had lower levels of liver iron and higher levels of all other elements analysed than those caught south of Isfjorden. The recorded concentrations of heavy metals indicate a moderate degree of exposure, which most likely is of natural origin.

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Gunnar Norheim died January 9, 1991

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Prestrud, P., Norheim, G., Sivertsen, T. et al. Levels of toxic and essential elements in arctic fox in Svalbard. Polar Biol 14, 155–159 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00240520

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Keywords

  • Mercury
  • Cadmium
  • Manganese
  • Arsenic
  • Selenium