Agriculture
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Where Have All the Bees Gone?
Middle school science adventures
Amphibians
Salamanders and Newts
Toads
Salamanders
Animals
The History of Meow
Poor Devils
Staying Away from Sick Lobsters
Behavior
Memory by Hypnosis
The nerve of one animal
The Colorful World of Synesthesia
Birds
Condors
Falcons
Crows
Chemistry and Materials
The metal detector in your mouth
Lighting goes digital
Supersonic Splash
Computers
Supersonic Splash
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Fingerprint Evidence
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino Bite Leaves a Tooth
Middle school science adventures
The Paleontologist and the Three Dinosaurs
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Life trapped under a glacier
Arctic Algae Show Climate Change
Digging into a Tsunami Disaster
Environment
Seabirds Deliver Arctic Pollutants
Nanosponges Soak Up Pollutants
A Vulture's Hidden Enemy
Finding the Past
Early Maya Writing
Little People Cause Big Surprise
Stone Tablet May Solve Maya Mystery
Fish
Swordfish
Catfish
Bull Sharks
Food and Nutrition
Food for Life
Building a Food Pyramid
Strong Bones for Life
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Problems with Prepositions
Capitalization Rules
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
March 21-22, 2013: Over 43,000 students will take the GSAT Exam
GSAT Exam Preparation
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Exam Preparation
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Mathematics
Math of the World
Prime Time for Cicadas
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
Human Body
Don't Eat That Sandwich!
Gut Microbes and Weight
Sea Kids See Clearly Underwater
Invertebrates
Giant Squid
Fleas
Caterpillars
Mammals
African Wild Dog
Quolls
Black Bear
Parents
How children learn
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Children and Media
Physics
Speedy stars
Thinner Air, Less Splatter
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
Plants
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Making the most of a meal
Plants Travel Wind Highways
Reptiles
Sea Turtles
Geckos
Asp
Space and Astronomy
Holes in Martian moon mystery
Planets on the Edge
Older Stars, New Age for the Universe
Technology and Engineering
Beyond Bar Codes
Spinach Power for Solar Cells
Slip Sliming Away
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Verb?
What is a Noun
Transportation
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Robots on a Rocky Road
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Weather
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Add your Article

A Vulture's Hidden Enemy

Vultures are scavengers, feeding on the meat from whatever dead animals they can find. But in Pakistan and India, vultures that have been feeding on dead farm animals, such as cattle, have been dying off themselves.

Scientists have just discovered that these deaths occur because the vultures are getting an accidental dose of medicine from the cattle meat. Farmers had given a drug to their livestock to heal the animals. To vultures, however, the drug turned out to be poisonous.

Finding the cause of the vultures’ deaths was like solving a mystery. At first, researchers thought the birds might have been dying of some mysterious plague.

Veterinarian J. Lindsay Oaks at Washington State University examined the internal organs of some dead birds to check for signs of disease. No disease. Instead, Oaks discovered that the birds’ kidneys had failed—not due to disease but due to poisoning.

Scientists already know that certain chemicals, such as the metal cadmium, are harmful to birds’ kidneys. But in their tests on the vultures, Oaks and his colleagues found no traces of cadmium or other familiar, harmful substances.

Next on the scientists’ list of suspects were any drugs used to treat livestock. The researchers checked to see what drugs farmers in the area used. They noticed one drug on the list known to hurt birds’ kidneys if the birds eat something with the drug in it. The culprit is called “diclofenac,” a veterinary medicine used by farmers in Pakistan and India to shrink swellings.

Losing the vultures could have all sorts of unwanted side-effects. With fewer vultures around to devour animal carcasses, there’s less competition for food—allowing the number of foxes to increase. The increase in the fox population has led to the spread of rabies. It’s an example of the complex chain of unexpected effects that can occur in nature.

The vultures are useful to farmers, too. When an animal dies, a farmer can leave the carcass out in the open for vultures to dispose of. Without vultures, farmers would have to find new ways of dealing with waste carcasses.

The researchers say the vultures might recover if the farmers stopped using the drug. But that might not be so easy for the farmers.

The vultures don’t have much time, though. Rick Watson of the Peregrine Fund in Idaho claims that if farmers don’t do something, three species of vulture will die out within 5 years.—S. McDonagh

A Vulture's Hidden Enemy
A Vulture's Hidden Enemy








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™