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Metallic elements in Nile Crocodile eggs from the Kruger National Park, South Africa
North-West University, South Africa.
South African National Parks, South Africa.
Linköpings universitet, Institutionen för tema, Tema Miljöförändring. Linköpings universitet, Filosofiska fakulteten.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-5972-1852
North-West University, South Africa.
2018 (engelsk)Inngår i: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, ISSN 0147-6513, E-ISSN 1090-2414, Vol. 148, s. 930-941Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

The Nile Crocodile is the largest predator on the African continent. Recent mass mortalities in the Kruger National Park (KNP) raised concerns about possible influence of pollution. We analysed eggs and their eggshells collected from nests inside the KNP and from a crocodile farm for metallic elements. We found that mercury, selenium, and copper occurred at levels of concern. Eggshells had very high concentrations of iron. Apart from toxicological implications associated with elevated concentrations in eggs, we found iron possibly contributing towards thicker eggshells. Thicker shells may act as a barrier to gas and water exchange, as well as possibly increasing the effort required for the hatchling to emerge from tightly packed shells under sand. Pollutants are transported into the KNP via rivers, and possibly via air. Mercury and copper pollution are waste-, industrial- and mining-related; ecotoxicological concern should therefore be extended to all areas where the four African crocodile species occur. Reptiles are under-represented in ecotoxicological literature in general, and especially from Africa. We know of only one previous report on metals and metalloids in crocodile eggs from Africa (Zimbabwe), published 30 years ago. Reduced fitness, endocrine disruption and effects on behaviour are other possible sub-lethal effects associated with metallic elements that may only become apparent decades later in a long-lived species such as the Nile Crocodile. In the face of habitat destruction, pollution, human population increases, and climate change, further research is needed regarding pollutant concentrations and effects in all African reptiles . The rivers that carry water from outside the park sustain its aquatic life, but also transport pollutants into the KNP. Therefore, improved source mitigation remains an important task and responsibility for all involved.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Academic Press, 2018. Vol. 148, s. 930-941
Emneord [en]
Ecotoxicology, aquatic ecology, reptile, eggshell, mercury, selenium, copper
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-143816DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.11.032ISI: 000429892700108Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85036659815OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-143816DiVA, id: diva2:1167921
Merknad

Funding agencies; Ruppert Foundation; National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF); South African Department of Science and Technology

Tilgjengelig fra: 2017-12-19 Laget: 2017-12-19 Sist oppdatert: 2018-05-23bibliografisk kontrollert

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