Fonofos poisons raptors and waterfowl several months after granular application

Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Pacific Wildlife Research Centre, Delta, BC, Canada.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (Impact Factor: 3.23). 03/2008; 27(2):452-60. DOI: 10.1897/07-178R.1
Source: PubMed


From 1994 to 1999 in the Lower Fraser Valley region of southwest Canada, fonofos (Dyfonate G) was recommended for control of introduced wireworm (Agriotes spp.) pests on potato and other root crops. As part of a wildlife-monitoring program, we collected 15 raptors, including 12 bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), found dead or debilitated on or near agricultural lands with severely inhibited brain and/or plasma cholinesterase activity and fonofos residues in ingesta. Bird remains, in nine cases waterfowl, were identified in the ingesta samples. Another seven bald eagles had severe cholinesterase inhibition, but without evidence of fonofos residues. During two winters from 1996 to 1998, 420 ha of potato fields, half of which had been treated the previous spring with fonofos and the remainder untreated, were searched weekly for evidence of wildlife mortality. Search efficiency was assessed with placed duck carcasses. Waterfowl outnumbered other species in field-use counts and comprised the greatest proportion of birds found dead. We found 211 wildlife remains, most scavenged; 35 intact carcasses were suitable for postmortem examination and/or toxicology analyses. Cholinesterase activity was assayed in brains of 18 waterfowl, five of which had severely depressed activity (average inhibition 74%; range, 69-78%). The gastrointestinal tract of a mallard found in a field treated with granular product contained 49 microg/g fonofos residues, linking waterfowl mortality with labelled use of the product. These findings demonstrate the risk of both primary and secondary poisoning by anticholinesterase insecticides where wildlife make intensive use of farmed fields.

1 Follower
13 Reads
  • Source
    • "Specimens were obtained opportunistically as part of a broader monitoring program for exposure of birds of prey to various contaminants , including insecticides (Elliott et al., 2008), rodenticides (Albert et al., 2010), mercury (Weech et al., 2003) and lead shot (Elliott et al., 1992; Wayland et al., 2003). All specimens were autopsied for cause of death. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: As urban sprawl and agricultural intensification continue to invade prime wildlife habitat, some animals, even apex predators, are managing to adapt to this new environment. Chemical pollution is one of many stressors that wildlife encounter in urban environments. Predators are particularly sensitive to persistent chemical pollutants because they feed at a high trophic level where such pollution is biomagnified. To examine levels of pollution in urban birds of prey in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada, we analyzed persistent organic contaminants in adult birds found dead of trauma injury. The hepatic geometric mean concentration of sum polybrominated diphenyl ethers (∑PBDEs) in 13 Cooper's hawks (Accipiter cooperii) from Greater Vancouver was 1873ng/g (lipid weight) with one bird reaching 197,000ng/g lipid weight, the highest exposure reported to date for a wild bird. Concentrations of ∑PBDEs, ∑PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and, surprisingly, cyclodiene insecticides were greatest in the urban environment while those of DDE (1,1-dichloroethylene bis[p-chlorophenyl) were highest in a region of intensive agriculture. The level of most chlorinated and brominated contaminants increased with trophic level (δ(15)N). The concentrations of some contaminants, PBDEs in particular, in these birds of prey may have some toxicological consequences. Apex predators in urban environments continue to be exposed to elevated concentrations of legacy pollutants as well as more recent brominated pollutants. Crown Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Science of The Total Environment 08/2015; 524. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.04.008 · 4.10 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "The intent of this study was to include barn owls at wildlife rehabilitation centers that were exhibiting signs of AR toxicity, such as with testing for anticholinesterase poisoning (e.g. Elliott et al. 2008) or lead (Elliott et al. 1992). However, during the length of the study, a sample was obtained from only one individual presented to the partner rehabilitation centre with these symptoms (see Fig. 9). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Based on detection of hepatic residues, scavenging and predatory non-target raptors are widely exposed to second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs). A small proportion, generally <10 %, of tested birds are diagnosed as acutely poisoned. Little is known, however, of sub-lethal effects of SGARs, such as interaction of clotting capacity with traumatic injury. Assessment of coagulation function of birds submitted live to wildlife rehabilitators or veterinarians may provide a means of establishing the proportion of animals suffering sub-lethal coagulopathies, as well as identifying individuals requiring treatment. As a first step in exploring the potential of this approach, we dosed Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) with the SGAR, brodifacoum, at 0, 0.8, 1.4, 1.9, and 2.5 mg/kg and sampled birds at 1, 3, 5 and 7 days post-dosing. Prothrombin time (PT), which measures the extrinsic coagulation pathway, was significantly prolonged in 98 % of brodifacoum-exposed quail in a dose- and time-dependent manner. 50-fold prolongation of PT occurred at higher brodifacoum dosages and correlated to hemorrhage found at necropsy. Activated clotting time (ACT), a measure of the intrinsic pathway also increased with dose and time. Hemoglobin (Hb) and hematocrit (Hct) decreased dose- and time-dependently at doses ≥1.4 mg/kg with no significant change at 0.8 mg/kg. Reference intervals for PT (10.0-16.2 s), ACT (30-180 s), Hb (9.6-18.4 g/dl), and Hct (34-55 %) were established in Japanese quail. Species-specific reference intervals are required as barn owl PT (17-29 s) and quail PT were different. The proportion of brodifacoum-exposed quail with hemorrhage was not correlated with liver residues, but was correlated with PT, suggesting that this assay is a useful indicator of avian anticoagulant rodenticide exposure. PTs measured in free-living barn owls sampled between April 2009 and August 2010 in the lower Fraser Valley of BC do not suggest significant exposure to SGARs.
    Ecotoxicology 04/2015; 24(5). DOI:10.1007/s10646-015-1449-1 · 2.71 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Because pesticide toxicity to wildlife is not fully tested prior to approval for agricultural purposes, some pesticides are slow to be removed from market despite evidence indicating their potential negative impacts on wildlife species. Fonofos was discontinued in 1999 as a result of its toxicity to raptors and waterfowl, for example, yet at the time, three out of seven pesticides known to cause avian mortality remained in use (Flickinger et al. 1991; Hunt et al. 1991; Mineau et al. 2005; Elliott et al. 2008). When pesticides leach into nearby streams and ponds they can be lethal for aquatic species, sometimes in ways that escape detection under controlled experimental conditions. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In Canada, habitat loss has pushed many more species to the brink of extinction than expected in a region with extensive wilderness. However, species richness gradients depend strongly on climate, so species are concentrated in southern regions, where agricultural and urban land uses are both intensive and extensive. Agricultural pesticide use is associated with increasing rates of species endangerment in the south, but long-range transport of persistent organic pollutants is an emerging issue in remote northern regions. Because their distributions reflect climate so strongly, climate change threatens species throughout Canada. Evidence indicates that species’ distributions, phenologies, and interactions with pests and diseases are changing more rapidly in response to climate change than global mean values. Nevertheless, climate change is expected to impose dispersal requirements that surpass species’ maximum rates. Habitat losses may interact with climate change to impair species’ dispersal still further, creating the potential for widespread disruption of biological systems in the most diverse areas of Canada. New research is urgently needed to address questions, and the ethics, around species translocation, ecosystem engineering to anticipate future environmental conditions, and strategies to facilitate the persistence of rare species in landscapes dominated by human activities.
    Canadian Journal of Zoology 04/2011; 89(5):435-451. DOI:10.1139/z11-023 · 1.30 Impact Factor
Show more

Similar Publications