We evaluated the health of 18 radio-collared deer [13 mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and 5 white-tailed deer (O. virginianus)] from the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, near Denver, Colorado, USA, a Superfund site contaminated with a variety of materials, including organochlorine pesticides, metals, and nerve gas production by-products. Radio-collared deer were tracked for 1 to 3 years (1989–1992) to identify relative exposure to contaminants based on telemetry locations plotted on grid maps depicting known soil contaminant concentrations. At the end of the study, all animals were in fair or good body condition at the time of necropsy. Mean ages of mule deer and white-tailed deer were 7.4 (range 4–12) and 10.6 years (range 5–17), respectively. At necropsy, tissues were collected from the deer for serology, histopathology, and analysis for eight chlorinated hydrocarbons and two metals. Detectable residues of mercury were found in the kidneys of 10 deer (range 0.055–0.096 μg/g), dieldrin was found in fat (n = 9) (range 0.02–0.72 μg/g), liver (n = 4) (range 0.017–0.12 μg/g), and brain (n = 1, 0.018 μg/g), and DDE was found in the muscle of one animal (0.02 μg/g). Relative exposure estimates derived from telemetry and soil contamination data were correlated with tissue levels of dieldrin (p < 0.001) and mercury (p = 0.05). Two mule deer had severe testicular atrophy, and one of these animals also had antler deformities. The prevalence of antibodies against epizootic hemorrhagic disease serotype 2 was 85%.
|Title||Health status and relative exposure of mule deer and white-tailed deer to soil contaminants at the rocky mountain arsenal|
|Authors||Terry E. Creekmore, Donald G. Whittaker, Richard R. Roy, J. Christian Franson, Dan L. Baker|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||National Wildlife Health Center|