Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vultures dying at alarming rate

Date:
November 17, 2011
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Vultures in South Asia were on the brink of extinction until Lindsay Oaks and Richard Watson, from The Peregrine Fund in the US, undertook observational and forensic studies to find out why the number of birds was falling so rapidly. They discovered the vultures were being poisoned by residues of an anti-inflammatory drug (diclofenac) used in cattle and other livestock, whose carcasses they feed on.

Veterinary drug residue in cattle and livestock carcasses is killing South Asian vultures.

Related Articles


Vultures in South Asia were on the brink of extinction until Lindsay Oaks and Richard Watson, from The Peregrine Fund in the US, undertook observational and forensic studies to find out why the number of birds was falling so rapidly. They discovered the vultures were being poisoned by residues of an anti-inflammatory drug (diclofenac) used in cattle and other livestock, whose carcasses they feed on. The work is presented in a chapter of the new book, Wildlife Ecotoxicology -- Forensic Approaches, published by Springer.

According to the authors: "The story is far from over and the stakes are high. The failure to effectively control carcass contamination by diclofenac will likely lead to extinction of these magnificent birds which, through their scavenger role, have controlled the spread of infectious disease for millennia, as well as provided other important ecological services."

Oaks and Watson describe their scientific investigations, including their many challenges and setbacks, following the unprecedented decline in the population of two of the world's most abundant raptors -- the Oriental White-backed vulture and the Long-billed vulture -- in India in the 1990s, and neighboring Pakistan by the early 2000s. They describe how they were able to prove that the commonly used anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac, fed to ailing cattle and other livestock, was being ingested by the wild birds feeding on the carcasses and causing visceral gout, a manifestation of renal failure.

The authors go on to discuss their efforts in 2004 to get the governments of India, Pakistan and Nepal to take note and act, faced with the irrefutable proof that diclofenac was responsible for the declining numbers of vultures at such a catastrophic rate. They demonstrate how solid science can facilitate a rapid regulatory response -- with India, Nepal and Pakistan all banning the manufacture of veterinary diclofenac in 2006.

In spite of the researchers' 10-year crusade and significant accomplishments, veterinary diclofenac continues to be used widely and illegally almost four years after the drug was banned, leaving the fate of wild Gyps vultures in doubt. The authors highlight a number of potential measures which could lead to a more effective implementation of the ban.

This forensic work and other scientific detective cases are featured in Wildlife Ecotoxicology -- Forensic Approaches. The editors present case-by-case examinations of the science, describing the challenges biologists personally face while doing their research and bringing these issues to the public and regulatory forum.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Vultures dying at alarming rate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111117135719.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2011, November 17). Vultures dying at alarming rate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111117135719.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Vultures dying at alarming rate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111117135719.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Buzz60 (Oct. 31, 2014) For its nature series Life Story, the BBC profiled the barnacle goose, whose chicks must make a daredevil 400-foot cliff dive from their nests to find food. Jen Markham has the astonishing video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) The import of salamanders around the globe is thought to be contributing to the spread of a deadly fungus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) A health group in the United Kingdom has called for mandatory calorie labels on alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Focus on treating the Ebola epidemic in Liberia means that treatment for malaria, itself a killer, is hard to come by. MSF are now undertaking the mass distribution of antimalarials in Monrovia. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
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