Background and purpose: Heavy metals can enter into animals’ body through consumption of contaminated food and water and leave toxic effects on different organs. Considering the potential public health risk posed by heavy metal contamination, information about concentration of heavy metals in animals can help in analyzing the suitability of ecosystems.
Materials and methods: This study was conducted in 15 and 25 wild greylag geese (from Gomishan Wetland and Khalij of Gorgan) and rural greylag geese (from villages of Golestan Province), respectively, that were randomly captured. Then, the tail feather and internal organ samples were taken from each bird and heavy metal concentrations were determined using an atomic absorption spectrophtometer (GBcA).
Results: The concentrations of heavy metals were higher in the wild geese, compared to the rural ones. In addition, the highest concentration was observed in the tail feathers of wild geese (Hg=3.99±0.07 ppm, Zn=7.20±0.07 ppm, Pb=4.24±0.25 ppm). There was a significant difference in heavy metal concentrations in different organs (i.e., tail feather, liver, kidney, and muscle) (P< 0.05).
Conclusion: As the findings of the present study indicated, animals’ health can be potentially threatened by heavy metal contamination in rural areas and south of the Caspian Sea. So, appropriate control measures are needed to prevent heavy metal entry into the Caspian Sea and rural areas. Moreover, the goose consumers should be informed of the dangers of heavy metal accumulation, and the possibility of the transition of toxic metals through consumption of contaminated meat.