New drug alos threatening future of Asian vultures

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London, Dec.10 (ANI): A new drug that was brought in as a replacement to save India's vulture population, has failed to deliver in terms of results.

Ketoprofen, a veterinary anti-infalmmatory drug, was proposed as a replacement for Diclofenac, which scientists say brought some species of Asian vulture to the brink of extinction.

However, scientist claim that Ketoprofen is as lethal to vultures as Diclofenac.

Ketoprofen is used in India to treat cattle.

A study published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters says it causes the birds to suffer acute kidney failure within days of exposure.

This is the same toxic effect caused when vultures feed on the carcasses of animals treated with diclofenac.

Researchers had thought that Ketoprofen would be less harmful because it metabolised faster by cows, and converted within hours into a form that is not dangerous to vultures.

But an international team of scientists that carried out safety tests on the drug, found that doses administered to cattle in India were sufficient to kill the birds.

Richard Cuthbert from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) led the study, which involved researchers from academic institutes and conservation organisations in Europe and Africa.

Some vultures are poisoned when they feed on the carcasses of recently treated livestock

These included the Bombay Natural History Society, Namibia's Rare and Endangered Species Trust and the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

His team carried out tests on the more common species of vultures, using them a surrogate for endangered Asian vultures.

Their tests showed that meat from animals that had been treated with Ketoprofen could be lethal for the birds. (ANI)

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