© 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited. Lead levels and isotopic fingerprints in 315 free-ranging animals belonging to 18 wild game species in four remote areas of the Peruvian Amazon provide a comprehensive picture of anthropogenic lead pollution in tropical rainforests. The high average concentration of lead (0.49 mg kg−1 wet weight) in livers from Amazonian wild game is comparable to the levels of lead in industrialized countries and mining areas. Although hunting ammunition is probably the main source of lead in wildlife, oil-related pollution is also a major source of contaminant lead in areas in which oil is extracted. Owing to the extended use of lead shot in subsistence hunting worldwide and the ever-encroaching oil-extraction industry in tropical rainforests, these results uncover important health risks to tropical wildlife and local communities that rely on subsistence hunting.