Second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides in the blood of obligate and facultative European avian scavengers
Martínez, José María
Sánchez-Barbudo, Inés S.
Camarero, Pablo R.
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The widespread use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) and their high persistence in animal tissues has led to these compounds becoming ubiquitous in rodent-predator-scavenger food webs. Exposure to SGARs has usually been investigated in wildlife species found dead, and despite growing evidence of the potential risk of secondary poisoning of predators and scavengers, the current worldwide exposure of free-living scavenging birds to SGARs remains scarcely investigated. We present the first active monitoring of blood SGAR concentrations and prevalence in the four European obligate (i.e., vultures) and facultative (red and black kites) avian scavengers in NE Spain. We analysed 261 free-living birds and detected SGARs in 39.1% (n = 102) of individuals. Both SGAR prevalence and concentrations (ΣSGARs) were related to the age and foraging behaviour of the species studied. Black kites showed the highest prevalence (100%), followed by red kites (66.7%), Egyptian (64.2%), bearded (20.9%), griffon (16.9%) and cinereous (6.3%) vultures. Overall, both the prevalence and average ΣSGARs were higher in non-nestlings than nestlings, and in species such as kites and Egyptian vultures foraging in anthropic landscapes (e.g., landfill sites and livestock farms) and exploiting small/medium-sized carrions. Brodifacoum was most prevalent (28.8%), followed by difenacoum (16.1%), flocoumafen (12.3%) and bromadiolone (7.3%). In SGAR-positive birds, the ΣSGAR (mean ± SE) was 7.52 ± 0.95 ng mL−1; the highest level detected being 53.50 ng mL−1. The most abundant diastereomer forms were trans-bromadiolone and flocoumafen, and cis-brodifacoum and difenacoum, showing that lower impact formulations could reduce secondary exposures of non-target species. Our findings suggest that SGARs can bioaccumulate in scavenging birds, showing the potential risk to avian scavenging guilds in Europe and elsewhere. We highlight the need for further studies on the potential adverse effects associated with concentrations of SGARSs in the blood to better interpret active monitoring studies of free-living birds.
Is part ofEnvironmental Pollution, 2022, vol. 315, núm.120385, p.1-11
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