Toxicity of diclofenac to Gyps vultures

G. E. Swan, R. Cuthbert, M. Quevedo, R. E. Green, D. J. pain, P. Bartels, A. A. Cunningham, N. Duncan, Andrew Alexander Meharg, J. L. Oaks, J. Parry-Jones, S. Shultz, Mark Antony Taggart, G. Verdoon, K. Wolter

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212 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-282
Number of pages3
JournalBiology Letters
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • diclofenac
  • vultures
  • toxicity
  • Gyps
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug


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