HEAVY METAL LEVELS IN THE TISSUES OF WILD LIVING ANIMALS FROM TWO DISTINCT INDUSTRIALLY EXPLOITED AREAS IN SLOVAKIA

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Jana Maľová
Juraj Ciberej
Pavel Maľa
Frantisek Zigo
Boris Semjon

Abstract

The aim of the presented study was to assess the heavy metal burden in biotopes of wild living animals of two distinct industrially exploited areas in Slovakia. 411 samples of various tissues (lung, liver, kidney, spleen, heart and muscle) of red deer, roe deer, mouflon, chamois, wild boar, European brown hare, fox, European brown marten, European badger, gray wolf, brown bear, wildcat, red squirrel, European polecat, alpine marmot, and European otter were collected from the localities between 2014 and 2018. Concentrations of mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, nickel, copper and zinc were determined using Atomic absorption spectroscopy. Significant correlations (p ˂ 0.05, t = 0.03162) of metal levels in each locality and differences between the animals species were recorded. We have found important heavy metal burden in a relatively clean area – Tatra National Park that is legislatively protected and restricted in any industrial activity. In the Zemplín region, the examined heavy metal levels confirm permanent pollution by intensive heavy industrialization. Mostly mercury (29 %) was the metal that exceeded the legal limits permitted for human consumption, then cadmium (28 %) and lead (23 %). Concentration of chromium did not exceed the limit in any sample. The most burdened animal species was wild boar.

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