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American birds of prey at higher risk of poisoning from pest control chemicals
Date:3/10/2011

A new study by scientists from Maryland and Colorado using American kestrels, a surrogate test species for raptorial birds, suggests that they are at greater risk from poisoning from the rodenticide diphacinone than previous believed. The research, published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, considers the threat posed by diphacinone as its usage increases following restrictions on the use of similar pesticides.

"Recent restrictions on the use of some rodenticides may result in increased use of diphacinone," said lead author Dr. Barnett Rattner from the US Geological Survey. "Very few controlled studies have examined its toxicity in birds so it is important to determine how lethal this chemical is to wildlife."

Surveillance programs have reported detection of rates of rodenticide in birds of prey across France, Great Britain and Western Canada, revealing that several second-generation rodenticides can result in non-target deaths, with possible population-level implications.

However, the global magnitude of non-target poisoning through the routine use of rodenticide, or through targeted eradication programs remains unknown, partly because the indirect fatalities go largely unnoticed and unreported.

The team tested kestrels and discovered the effects of diphacinone and the quantity required for a lethal dose. The results showed that birds that had ingested greater than 300 mg per kilogram of body weight died within 8 to 23 hours, while those ingesting a dose of 118.6 mg/kg survived 27 to 47 hours. At lower doses, nearly all of the birds survived.

Poisoned birds displayed some evidence of internal bleeding, although histological examination of internal organs revealed hemorrhaging over a wide range of doses. The results demonstrate that doses that reach or exceed 79 mg/kg body weight are lethal for kestrels.

"Our study, combined with previous research in hawk and owl species show that birds
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Contact: Ben Norman
Lifesciencenews@wiley.com
44-012-437-70375
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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