Three endemic vulture species Gyps bengalensis, Gyps indicus and Gyps tenuirostris are critically endangered following dramatic declines in South Asia resulting from exposure to diclofenac, a veterinary drug present in the livestock carcasses that they scavenge. Diclofenac is widely used globally and could present a risk to Gyps species from other regions. In this study, we test the toxicity of diclofenac to a Eurasian (Gryps fiulvus) and an African (Cryps afticanus) species, neither of which is threatened. A dose of 0.8 mg kg(-1) of diclofenac was highly toxic to both species, indicating that they are at least as sensitive to diclofenac as G. bengalensis 11 for which we estimate an LD50 Of 0.1-0.2 mg kg(-1). We suggest that diclofenac is likely to be toxic to all eight Gyps species, and that G. africanus, which is phylogenetically close to G. bengalensis, would be a suitable surrogate for the safety testing of alternative drugs to diclofenac.
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
- INDIAN SUBCONTINENT