Environment
Study of wolves will help scientists predict climate effects on endangered animals — Scientists studying populations of grey wolves in the USA's Yellowstone National Park have developed a way to predict how changes in the environment will impact on the animals' number,…
Climate sensitivity to CO2 more limited than extreme projections — A new study suggests that the rate of global warming from doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be less than the most dire estimates of some previous studies - and, in fact, may…
Saving Da Vinci's Last Supper from air pollution — Having survived long centuries, political upheaval, and even bombings during World War II, Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece Last Supper now faces the risk of damage from air pollution…
After 25 years, sustainability is a growing science that's here to stay — Sustainability has not only become a science in the past 25 years, but it is one that continues to be fast-growing with widespread international collaboration, broad disciplinary composition…
Markets drive conservation in Central Africa — Certification has shown that commercial forestry can co-exist with conservation objectives in the Congo Basin, according to conclusions reached at an international seminar 'Forest management…
Great Plains river basins threatened by pumping of aquifers — Suitable habitat for native fishes in many Great Plains streams has been significantly reduced by the pumping of groundwater from the High Plains aquifer - and scientists analysing…
Rivers may aid climate control in cities — Speaking at the URSULA (Urban River Corridors and Sustainable Living Agendas) Conference, in Sheffield, Dr Abigail Hathway, of the University of Sheffield, will demonstrate how rivers…
Predicting future threats for global amphibian biodiversity — Amphibian populations are declining worldwide, and their declines far exceed those of other animal groups: more than 30% of all species are listed as threatened according to the Red…
Study shows deforestation causes cooling — Deforestation, considered by scientists to contribute significantly to global warming, has been shown by a Yale-led team to actually cool the local climate in northern latitudes, according…
Climate change is making our environment 'bluer' — The 'colour' of our environment is becoming 'bluer,' a change that could have important implications for animals' risk of becoming extinct, ecologists have found. In a major study involving…
Where am I? > Home > News > Environment

Vultures dying at alarming rate

Science Centric | 17 November 2011 17:46 GMT
Printable version A clip for your blog or website E-mail the story to a friend
Bookmark or share the story on your social network Vote for this article Decrease text size Increase text size
DON'T MISS —
Last-ever look at European Space Agency's gravity satellite GOCE
Last-ever look at European Space Agency's gravity satellite GOCE — As preparations for the launch of GOCE on 10 September continue on schedule, an important milestone has just been achieved…
Aerosols' impact on Australia's climate
Aerosols' impact on Australia's climate — The impact that human-generated and natural atmospheric particles (aerosols) could be having on Australia's climate will…
More Environment

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 neighbouring 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.

Source: Springer


Leave a comment
The details you provide on this page [e-mail address] will not be used to send unsolicited e-mail, and will not be supplied to a third party! Please note that we can not promise to give everyone a response. Comments are fully moderated. Once approved they will be posted within 24 hours.
Expand the form to leave a comment

RSS FEEDS, NEWSLETTER
Find the topic you want. Science Centric offers several RSS feeds for the News section.

Or subscribe for our Newsletter, a free e-mail publication. It is published practically every day.

GOCE satellite begins its journey to launch siteGOCE satellite begins its journey to launch site

— GOCE, the first of a series of Earth Explorer satellites to be launched into orbit, has taken off aboard an Antonov-124 cargo aircraft for its flight to the Arkhangelsk…

'Fuel for thought' on transport sector challenges'Fuel for thought' on transport sector challenges

— A report on how Australia can best respond to the environmental and economic challenges arising from its dependence on fossil fuels for transport is being released…

Conservationist to aid parrots in perilConservationist to aid parrots in peril

— A once critically endangered species of parrot now under threat from a highly contagious virus may be offered a renewed chance of survival by a conservationist at…

Project seeks clues to climate change in remote atmospheric regionProject seeks clues to climate change in remote atmospheric region

— Scientists are deploying an advanced research aircraft to study a region of the atmosphere that influences climate change by affecting the amount of solar heat that…

Popular tags in Environment: climate · ecosystem · nitrogen · pollution