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Diclofenac is toxic to the Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis: widening the diversity of raptors threatened by NSAID misuse in South Asia

  • ANIL K. SHARMA (a1), MOHINI SAINI (a1), SHAMBHU D. SINGH (a2), VIBHU PRAKASH (a3), ASIT DAS (a1), R. BHARATHI DASAN (a2), SHAILEY PANDEY (a1), DAULAL BOHARA (a3), TOBY H. GALLIGAN (a4), RHYS E. GREEN (a4), DIETMAR KNOPP (a5) and RICHARD J. CUTHBERT (a4)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959270913000609
  • Published online: 27 May 2014
Abstract
Summary

Three Critically Endangered Gyps vultures endemic to South Asia continue to decline due to the use of diclofenac to treat livestock. High nephrotoxicity of diclofenac to Gyps vultures, leading to death, has been established by experiment and observation, in four out of five Gyps vulture species which occur in South Asia. Declines have also been observed in South Asia’s four other non-Gyps vulture species, but to date there has been no evidence about the importance of diclofenac as a potential cause. Neither is there any evidence on the toxicity of diclofenac to the Accipitridae other than vultures. In this study, gross and microscopic lesions and diclofenac tissue levels in Steppe Eagles Aquila nipalensis found at a cattle carcass dump in Rajasthan, India, show evidence of the toxicity of diclofenac for this species. These findings suggest the possibility that diclofenac is toxic to other accipitrid raptors and is therefore a potential threat to much wider range of scavenging species in South Asia.

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*Author for correspondence; email: aksharmaivri@rediffmail.com
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Bird Conservation International
  • ISSN: 0959-2709
  • EISSN: 1474-0001
  • URL: /core/journals/bird-conservation-international
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