Agriculture
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Chicken Eggs as Drug Factories
Seeds of the Future
Amphibians
Salamanders and Newts
Bullfrogs
Tree Frogs
Animals
Tool Use Comes Naturally to Crows
A Tongue and a Half
Copybees
Behavior
Mind-reading Machine
Homework blues
Body clocks
Birds
Seagulls
Blue Jays
Condors
Chemistry and Materials
Popping to Perfection
Smelly Traps for Lampreys
When frog gender flips
Computers
Graphene's superstrength
The science of disappearing
Supersonic Splash
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino-bite!
Have shell, will travel
Some Dinos Dined on Grass
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Life trapped under a glacier
Life under Ice
Undersea Vent System Active for Ages
Environment
Will Climate Change Depose Monarchs?
Little Bits of Trouble
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
Finding the Past
Prehistoric Trips to the Dentist
An Ancient Childhood
Stonehenge Settlement
Fish
Freshwater Fish
Skates
Trout
Food and Nutrition
Making good, brown fat
Sponges' secret weapon
Eat Out, Eat Smart
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Capitalization Rules
Pronouns
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
How are students placed after passing the GSAT exam
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
Mastering The GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
Setting a Prime Number Record
Human Body
Speedy Gene Gives Runners a Boost
Flu Patrol
Hear, Hear
Invertebrates
Dust Mites
Krill
Ticks
Mammals
Squirrels
African Leopards
African Gorillas
Parents
How children learn
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Physics
Gaining a Swift Lift
Extra Strings for New Sounds
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Plants
Getting the dirt on carbon
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
Reptiles
Anacondas
Gila Monsters
Copperhead Snakes
Space and Astronomy
Return to Space
Pluto, plutoid: What's in a name?
Gravity Tractor as Asteroid Mover
Technology and Engineering
A Light Delay
Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
Searching for Alien Life
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Noun
What is a Preposition?
Transportation
Robots on a Rocky Road
Charged cars that would charge
Reach for the Sky
Weather
Recipe for a Hurricane
Warmest Year on Record
A Dire Shortage of Water
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™