Purpose of Review
Knowledge of the occurrence and effects of pollutants on terrestrial top predators will serve to better understand the issue and propose measurements to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems. We reviewed literature on the occurrence and effects of pollutants on terrestrial top predators, which was particularly scarce in comparison to the literature available on aquatic top predators. We have asked the following questions: Does chemical pollution affect terrestrial top predator population? What are the mechanisms (if known) behind chemical pollution effects on top predators? What types of chemical pollution most commonly affect top predator species?
Pollutants present in the terrestrial top predators are industrial derived (PCBs), pesticides (insecticides and rodenticides), and trace metals (lead and mercury). Recent investigations on the effect of second-generation rodenticides (SGRs) are an emerging topic since these are causing deleterious effects on terrestrial top predator populations. On the other hand, eggshell thinning effects due to the old and known compounds such as DDT are still being observed in avian top predators. Further, lead pollution from spent ammunition affects predators after the hunting season.
This information demonstrates that the occurrence and effects of chemical pollutants on terrestrial top predators is a relevant issue for species and ecosystem conservation. Topics such as biomagnification of pollutants, the impact of SGRs on carnivore populations, and alternatives of lead ammunition for hunting are relevant topics that warrant further research.
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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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Conflict of Interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Land Pollution
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Rodríguez-Jorquera, I.A., Vitale, N., Garner, L. et al. Contamination of the Upper Class: Occurrence and Effects of Chemical Pollutants in Terrestrial Top Predators. Curr Pollution Rep 3, 206–219 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40726-017-0061-9