Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Time Running Out For South Asian Vultures, Ecologists Warn

Date:
October 1, 2004
Source:
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Summary:
Ecologists are calling on South Asian governments to ban veterinary use of the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac. Without banning use of the drug in livestock species likely to be eaten by vultures - mainly cattle and buffalo - three species of vulture in the Indian subcontinent are likely to become extinct.

Ecologists are calling on South Asian governments to ban veterinary use of the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac. Without banning use of the drug in livestock species likely to be eaten by vultures - mainly cattle and buffalo - three species of vulture in the Indian subcontinent are likely to become extinct.

New research, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, shows that exposure of vulture populations to a surprisingly small proportion of livestock carcasses contaminated with the drug - less than 1% - is sufficient to cause the rapid declines in vulture populations observed in India, Pakistan and Nepal over the past ten years. The study also found that the proportion of dead vultures with symptoms of diclofenac poisoning is close to that expected if this was the sole cause of the declines.

Dr Rhys Green of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the University of Cambridge, the lead author of the new paper, said: "Our study indicates that diclofenac poisoning is the main cause - possibly the only cause - of these vulture declines, which are among the most rapid ever recorded for any wild bird. Time is running out if we are to save these species. Governments, drug companies, vets, livestock owners and conservationists should act together now to solve this problem."

The research builds upon a study by Lindsay Oaks and colleagues of The Peregrine Fund, published in Nature in January 2004, which showed that tissues of livestock treated with the standard veterinary dose of diclofenac shortly before death were lethal to captive vultures and that a high proportion of wild vultures found dead in Pakistan were contaminated with diclofenac and had the same symptoms as the poisoned birds in their experiments.

The most recent population surveys in India, carried out by the Bombay Natural History Society in 2003, show that the population of the oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis) has fallen by more than 99% since the early 1990s, with that of the long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus) having fallen by more than 97%. These declines are continuing: white-backed vulture populations declined by an average of 50% in each year between 2000 and 2003 in both India and Pakistan and long-billed vultures in India declined by 22% per year during the same period. The rare slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris) is also declining rapidly. All three species have been listed as Critically Endangered, the highest level of extinction risk, by IUCN - The World Conservation Union.

Diclofenac is widely used and distributed for livestock treatment in India and Pakistan, so it will probably take a considerable time to remove it from the vultures' food supply. According to Dr Asad Rahmani, Director of the Bombay Natural History Society: "It will be difficult to remove diclofenac from the environment until drugs that are safe for vultures have been identified, so we urgently need captive breeding of vultures as a precaution until that has been achieved".


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Time Running Out For South Asian Vultures, Ecologists Warn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041001084058.htm>.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. (2004, October 1). Time Running Out For South Asian Vultures, Ecologists Warn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041001084058.htm
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Time Running Out For South Asian Vultures, Ecologists Warn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041001084058.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins