As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 29 May 2014

Steppe Eagles under threat

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mumbai: The serious threat from the veterinary drug - diclofenac - to various species of vultures has been known for a long time. Research now shows that the killer drug seems to be preying upon other birds of prey too. A paper published today in the Cambridge University Press journal - Bird Conservation International – by scientists from BNHS-India, UK-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, has revealed that two Steppe Eagles found dead at a cattle carcass dump in Rajasthan had diclofenac residue in their tissues.

Steppe Eagles under threat
The recent findings based on the tests carried out on the bodies of the two Steppe Eagles found in Rajasthan showed the same clinical signs of kidney failure as seen in Gyps vultures after they had ingested diclofenac. Researchers have observed extensive visceral gout, lesions and uric acid deposits in the liver, kidney and spleen of the two birds and diclofenac residue in the tissues.

Steppe Eagle is a winter visitor to most areas in northern and central India and some areas in western and eastern India. It also feeds on carcass dumps. Other species of Aquila eagles that are known to frequent carcass dumps include Tawny Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle and Indian Spotted Eagle. Steppe Eagle is closely related to Golden Eagle found in the UK, the vulnerable Spanish Imperial Eagle and other globally vulnerable or declining Eurasian eagles. Scientists now fear that all species in this genus, known as Aquila, are susceptible to diclofenac. With fourteen species of Aquila eagles distributed across Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and North America, this means that diclofenac poisoning should now be considered a global problem.

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