University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno
Recent publications
The number of animals bred, raised, and slaughtered each year is on the rise, resulting in increasing impacts to welfare. Farmed animals are also becoming more diverse, ranging from pigs to bees. The diversity and number of species farmed invite questions about how best to allocate currently limited resources towards safeguarding and improving welfare. This is of the utmost concern to animal welfare funders and effective altruism advocates, who are responsible for targeting the areas most likely to cause harm. For example, is tail docking worse for pigs than beak trimming is for chickens in terms of their pain, suffering, and general experience? Or are the welfare impacts equal? Answering these questions requires making an interspecies welfare comparison; a judgment about how good or bad different species fare relative to one another. Here, we outline and discuss an empirical methodology that aims to improve our ability to make interspecies welfare comparisons by investigating welfare range, which refers to how good or bad animals can fare. Beginning with a theory of welfare, we operationalize that theory by identifying metrics that are defensible proxies for measuring welfare, including cognitive, affective, behavioral, and neuro-biological measures. Differential weights are assigned to those proxies that reflect their evidential value for the determinants of welfare, such as the Delphi structured deliberation method with a panel of experts. The evidence should then be reviewed and its quality scored to ascertain whether particular taxa may possess the proxies in question to construct a taxon-level welfare range profile. Finally, using a Monte Carlo simulation, an overall estimate of comparative welfare range relative to a hypothetical index species can be generated. Interspecies welfare comparisons will help facilitate empirically informed decision-making to streamline the allocation of resources and ultimately better prioritize and improve animal welfare.
The term apoptosis, as a way of programmed cell death, was coined a half century ago and since its discovery the process has been extensively investigated. The anatomy and physiology of the head are complex and thus apoptosis has mostly been followed in separate structures, tissues or cell types. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of recent knowledge concerning apoptosis-related molecules involved in the development of structures of head with a particular focus on caspases, cysteine proteases having a key position in apoptotic pathways. Since many classical apoptosis-related molecules, including caspases, are emerging in several non-apoptotic processes, these were also considered. The largest organ of the head region is the brain and its development has been extensively investigated, including the roles of apoptosis and related molecules. Neurogenesis research also includes sensory organs such as the eye and ear, efferent nervous system and associated muscles and glands. Caspases have been also associated with normal function of the skin and hair follicles. Regarding mineralised tissues within craniofacial morphogenesis, apoptosis in bones has been of interest along with palate fusion and tooth development. Finally, the role of apoptosis and caspases in angiogenesis, necessary for any tissue/organ development and maintenance/homeostasis, are discussed. Additionally, this review points to abnormalities of development resulting from improper expression/activation of apoptosis-related molecules.
The Red Kite Milvus milvus is endemic to the western Palearctic. While the largest breeding population is in Germany, the population density decreases substantially from central to eastern Europe. In 2015, we tagged two young Red Kite females with telemetry loggers in an area with very low kite density in the northeastern part of Slovakia. One of these females failed to breed over her seven-year lifespan. After leaving her post-fledging area she never returned. During her first two years, she undertook two exploratory flights to Croatia and Romania, but remained exclusively in southwestern Slovakia and northeastern Hungary over the rest of her life. Throughout this period, she always wintered alone and no other Red Kites were ever observed in her wintering grounds. During the pre-breeding period (March–April), she remained outside the area that held breeding kite pairs, and there were no signs of breeding based on her positions during the breeding season. This seven-year-old is the oldest Red Kite floater recorded to date. Owing to the low density of Red Kite breeding pairs in Slovakia and Hungary, it is likely that she was unable to find a suitable mate prior to the beginning of the breeding season. In such areas, the role of floaters may prove critical for the persistence of low-density Red Kite populations.
Animals may be subjected to various stressors during transport, which may compromise their health and welfare as well as meat quality. In the chain of operations between a farm and a slaughterhouse, animal transport is probably the most stressful and injurious stage. Data on mortality is commonly collected at slaughterhouse as a retrospective indicator of animal welfare during transport. Ten-year prevalence of mortality of all the species and categories of animals (cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits and ostriches) regularly scheduled for slaughter in the Czech slaughterhouses was assessed as dead on arrival after road transport from 2010 to 2019. Among livestock, the highest mortality was found in pigs (0.065%); statistically higher compared to cattle (0.027%) and sheep (0.015%). In animals shipped in containers (rabbits, broiler chickens, end-of-lay hens, turkeys, geese and ducks), the highest prevalence was found in laying hens (0.507%), statistically higher compared to broiler chickens (0.425%) and rabbits (0.199%). The lowest prevalence was observed in geese (0.003%). There was a trend for decreasing death losses of pigs in more recent years and losses in broiler chickens and ducks increased. The results indicate that the current transport conditions should be re-evaluated for poultry. Emphasis should be put on the assessment of animal fitness before transport. This is especially important for animals at the end of their production cycle such as dairy cows, sows, and laying hens. They were more likely to die during the journey. • Highlights • Dead on arrival is an animal-based measure commonly applied at slaughterhouse as a retrospective indicator of animal welfare during transport. • In a cross-species comparison, the highest prevalence was observed for animals transported in cages and for end of production cycle animals. • To reduce mortality, several factors have to be considered by the meat industry other than the species-related ability to cope with transport.
Rescue centres play an important role in the protection of raptors living in the wild by caring for injured or debilitated animals and abandoned young with the aim of returning them to the wild. A total of 22,538 raptors were admitted to 34 rescue centres in the Czech Republic in the years 2010–2019, with an increasing trend during the monitored period (rSp = 0.7333, p < 0.05). The most frequent reasons for their admission were other injuries and fractures (26.52%), the admission of young (22.98%), and the admission of raptors injured by electric shock injuries (20.51%). It proved possible to release 42.45% of admitted raptors back into the wild, the majority of which (91.05%) were released using the hard-release method. Foster parents were used in 1% of cases and a replacement nest in 0.2% of cases involving the rearing of young. In spite of all the care provided at rescue centres, a total of 39.97% of raptors admitted either died or had to be euthanized. Among them, most raptors were euthanized or died due to injuries caused by collision with a vehicle, electric shock injuries, and other injuries. This generally occurred shortly after admission (a median of two days). The importance of the work of rescue centres lies not merely in returning injured raptors back into the wild (which proves possible in around half of all cases), but also in obtaining information about the factors endangering raptors in the wild and contributing toward a decline in their populations. The findings provide information about human-wildlife interactions in the Czech Republic and their implications for conservation as well as on the effectiveness of rescue centres to successfully treat and subsequently release raptors back into the wild.
Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) is a major cause of neurological infections in many regions of central, eastern and northern Europe and northern Asia. In approximately 15% of cases, TBEV infections lead to the development of severe encephalitis or meningitis. The main route of TBEV transmission is tick bites; however, ingestion of dairy products from infected animals (goats, cattle and sheep) is also a frequent cause of the disease. Therefore, vaccination of livestock in virus endemic regions could also contribute to the decrease in TBEV infection among humans. Although few vaccines against TBEV based on inactivated viruses are available for humans, due to high costs, vaccination is not mandatory in most of the affected countries. Moreover, there is still no vaccine for veterinary use. Here, we present a characterization and immunogenicity study of a new potential TBEV vaccine based on virus-like particles (VLPs) produced in Leishmania tarentolae cells. VLPs, which mimic native viral particles but do not contain genetic material, show good immunogenic potential. For the first time, we showed that the protozoan L. tarentolae expression system can be successfully used for the production of TBEV virus-like particles with highly efficient production. We confirmed that TBEV recombinant structural proteins (prM/M and E) from VLPs are highly recognized by neutralizing antibodies in in vitro analyses. Therefore, VLPs in combination with AddaVax adjuvant were used in immunization studies in a mouse model. VLPs proved to be highly immunogenic and induced the production of high levels of neutralizing antibodies. In a challenge experiment, immunization with VLPs provided full protection from lethal TBE in mice. Thus, we suggest that Leishmania-derived VLPs may be a good candidate for a safe alternative human vaccine with high efficiency of production. Moreover, this potential vaccine candidate may constitute a low-cost candidate for veterinary use.
Anticonvulsants are pharmaceuticals used for epilepsy treatment, pain syndromes therapyand for various psychiatric indications. They enter the aquatic environment mainly through wastew-ater and were found to cause both biochemical and behavioral changes in aquatic biota. Becausethe consumption of anticonvulsive drugs is quite high, their monitoring in the aquatic environmentis needed. The Elbe River basin is the fourth largest in Europe; the Elbe flows into the North Seaand therefore its contamination is of international importance. The aim of the present study wasto determine the presence and concentrations of anticonvulsant pharmaceuticals (carbamazepine,lamotrigine and gabapentin) and their analogues (gabapentin-lactam) in water samples obtainedfrom the Elbe River and its tributaries located in the Czech Republic, as well as to evaluate theircorrelations with flow rates. The results of this study show that the selected drugs are present in thesurface water of the Elbe River in tens to hundreds of ng/L, with the highest measured concentrationsfor gabapentin. Our results also indicate that the further the sampling point from the Elbe springis, the higher the concentrations of monitored pharmaceuticals are. Moreover, small tributaries aresignificantly more contaminated due to their low flow rates with the exceptions of streams flowingfrom preserved natural sites. The results of the monitoring highlight the importance of buildingwastewater treatment plants at the municipalities where they are still not present with focus ontechnology that would be able to decompose substances with negative removal efficiency. (2) (PDF) Ferencik at al Residues of Selected Anticonvulsive Drugs in Surface Waters of the Elbe River Basin water-14-04122. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/366384135_Ferencik_at_al_Residues_of_Selected_Anticonvulsive_Drugs_in_Surface_Waters_of_the_Elbe_River_Basin_water-14-04122 [accessed Dec 17 2022].
A total of 1185 passerine birds representing five species were examined for chewing lice in reed beds in southwestern Slovakia in spring (April) 2008, 2009 and 2016. Additional collecting focused only on chewing lice from Panurus biarmicus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Passeriformes: Panuridae) was carried out in spring (April), summer (July) and autumn (October) 2019. A total of 283 (24%) birds were parasitized by 10 species of chewing lice of four genera: Penenirmus, Menacanthus, Philopterus, and Brueelia. Most birds showed only very light (1-10 lice/host; 74%) to light infestations (11-20 lice/host; 16%). The authors found significantly higher prevalences and mean abundances of chewing lice on residents/short-distance migrants, that is, P. biarmicus, Acrocephalus melanopogon (Temminck, 1823) (Passeriformes: Acrocephalidae), than on long-distance migratory birds, that is, Acrocephalus scirpaceus (Hermann, 1804), Acrocephalus schoenobaenus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Passeriformes: Acrocephalidae), Locustella luscinioides (Savi, 1824) (Passeriformes: Locustellidae). No significant difference was found in the total mean intensity of chewing lice between these two groups of birds. Ischnoceran lice were more prevalent and abundant than amblyceran lice on residents and short-distance migrants, whereas the opposite was found on bird species that migrate long distances. A total of 146 (58%, n = 251) P. biarmicus were parasitized by 1490 chewing lice. Males of P. biarmicus showed higher prevalence and mean abundance than females with gradually descending values of prevalence, mean abundance and mean intensity from spring to autumn. The knowledge of the occurrence and population dynamics of lice on wild passerine birds can be useful in endangered species conservation programs and can also be applied to captive passerine birds, which may be analogous to resident birds in this sense.
Introduction . Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a serious disease with multisystemic clinical signs that is easily and frequently complicated by bacterial infection. Recently, the prevalence of nontuberculous mycobacteria as secondary contaminants of CF has increased, with the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) and Mycobacterium abscessus complex (MABSC) being the most frequently identified. The MABSC includes subspecies of significant clinical importance, mainly due to their resistance to antibiotics. Gap statement . Sensitive method for early detection and differentiation of MABSC members and MAC complex for use in routine clinical laboratories is lacking. A method based on direct DNA isolation from sputum, using standard equipment in clinical laboratories and allowing uncovering of possible sample inhibition (false negative results) would be required. The availability of such a method would allow accurate and accelerated time detection of MABSC members and their timely and targeted treatment. Aim . To develop a real time multiplex assay for rapid and sensitive identification and discrimination of MABSC members and MAC complex. Methodology . The method of DNA isolation directly from the sputum of patients followed by quadruplex real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) detection was developed and optimised. The sensitivity and limit of detection (LOD) of the qPCR was determined using human sputum samples artificially spiked with a known amount of M. abscessus subsp. massiliense (MAM). Results . The method can distinguish between MAC and MABSC members and, at the same time, to differentiate between M. abscessus subsp. abscessus /subsp. bolletii (MAAb/MAB) and MAM. The system was verified using 61 culture isolates and sputum samples from CF and non-CF patients showing 29.5 % MAAb/MAB, 14.7 % MAM and 26.2 % MAC. The LOD was determined to be 1 490 MAM cells in the sputum sample with the efficiency of DNA isolation being 95.4 %. Verification of the qPCR results with sequencing showed 100 % homology. Conclusions . The developed quadruplex qPCR assay, which is preceded by DNA extraction directly from patients’ sputum without the need for culturing, significantly improves and speeds up the entire process of diagnosing CF patients and is therefore particularly suitable for use in routine laboratories.
Unlabelled: There are only about 7,100 adolescent and adult cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) remaining in the wild. With the majority occurring outside protected areas, their numbers are rapidly declining. Evidence-based conservation measures are essential for the survival of this species. Genetic data is routinely used to inform conservation strategies, e.g., by establishing conservation units (CU). A commonly used marker in conservation genetics is mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Here, we investigated the cheetah's phylogeography using a large-scale mtDNA data set to refine subspecies distributions and better assign individuals to CUs. Our dataset mostly consisted of historic samples to cover the cheetah's whole range as the species has been extinct in most of its former distribution. While our genetic data largely agree with geography-based subspecies assignments, several geographic regions show conflicting mtDNA signals. Our analyses support previous findings that evolutionary forces such as incomplete lineage sorting or mitochondrial capture likely confound the mitochondrial phylogeography of this species, especially in East and, to some extent, in Northeast Africa. We caution that subspecies assignments solely based on mtDNA should be treated carefully and argue for an additional standardized nuclear single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker set for subspecies identification and monitoring. However, the detection of the A. j. soemmeringii specific haplogroup by a newly designed Amplification-Refractory Mutation System (ARMS) can already provide support for conservation measures. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10592-022-01483-1.
Maintaining appropriate living conditions and good health of the animals should be one of the main priorities of cat shelters. The aim of this study was to assess the morbidity of shelter cats on the basis of analysis of the shelter health records in terms of the nature and quantity of medicaments and other supportive products administered in two no-kill shelters in the Czech Republic. The subject of the study were the health records of 1,884 cats, which were admitted to the selected shelters from 1.1.2013 to 31.12.2021 and their stay in the shelter was terminated in the monitored period. More than half of all cats whose records were analyzed had at least one health record made during their stay in the shelter. The overall length of stay of cats in the shelter (regardless of the outcome) in which one or more health records were found was significantly longer compared to the length of stay of cats without any health records. The highest number of health records was found in kittens <6 months old. Antibiotics, antiparasitics, and complementary/protective substances were the most used among all administered drugs. Broad-spectrum antibiotics have been administered to cats most often. In terms of classification of antibiotics according to the active substance, the most used antibiotics were penicillins, tetracyclines, and fluoroquinolones. Antibiotics were mostly used to treat diseases related to the upper and lower respiratory tract and their symptoms and gastrointestinal problems. The findings of the study contribute to understanding health problems and approaches to treating the shelter cats.
Background Bentonites, as a clay mineral, serve in pig farms as adsorbents of toxic substances. They are mainly used to reduce the negative impact of mycotoxins to maintain the performance and health status of animals. The new genotypes of pigs are highly sensitive to a range of antinutrients, including mycotoxins. Currently, attention is focused on more effective adsorbents of mycotoxins with a higher adsorption capacity. Such materials are in great demand among feed manufacturers. However, there is a concern that these new materials may also adsorb too many essential nutrients and decrease animal performance. The aim of the experiment was to evaluate the effect of the new generation of purified bentonites on the efficiency and health status of the pigs. Results Forty-eight slaughtered pigs with an average weight of 31.2 ± 2.6 kg were included in the experiment. The pigs were divided into two groups (2 × 24 pigs). Pigs were slaughtered at an average weight of 66.3 ± 5.2. The first group had a diet without clay (control—C). The second group (treatment—T) was fed a diet with a clay additive (purified bentonite) of 1.5 kg/t. Animals were fed the experimental diet for 35 days. In group T, a higher daily weight gain (by 4.8%) and feed intake (by 2.9%) was observed while the feed conversion decreased by 1.9%. There were no significant differences between the groups of pigs during observation in the evaluation of hematological, biochemical parameters of the blood. Morpho-pathological analysis of the jejunum showed similar signs of moderate lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate in the mucosa in the groups C and T, contained similar number of goblet cells. Conclusion Taken together, the addition of the new generation of bentonite clays did not negatively influence the health status and the performance of pigs.
A new method for modifying the structure of tetracyclic quinobenzothiazinium derivatives has been developed, allowing introduction of various substituents at different positions of the benzene ring. The method consists of reacting appropriate aniline derivatives with 5,12-(dimethyl)thioquinantrenediinium bis-chloride. A series of new quinobenzothiazine derivatives was obtained with propyl, allyl, propargyl and benzyl substituents in 9, 10 and 11 positions, respectively. The structure of the obtained compounds was analyzed by 1H and 13C NMR (HSQC, HMBC) and X-ray analysis. All the compounds were tested against reference strains Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213 and Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 29212, and representatives of multidrug-resistant clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant E. faecalis (VRE). In addition, all the compounds were evaluated in vitro against Mycobacterium smegmatis ATCC 700084 and M. marinum CAMP 5644. 9-Benzyloxy-5-methyl-12H-quino [3,4-b][1,4]benzothiazinium chloride (6j), 9-propoxy-5-methyl-12H-quino[3,4-b][1,4]benzothiazinium chloride (6a) and 9-allyloxy-5-methyl-12H-quino[3,4-b][1,4]benzothiazinium chloride (6d) demonstrated high activity against the entire tested microbial spectrum. The activities of the compounds were comparable with oxacillin, tetracycline and ciprofloxacinagainst staphylococcal strains and with rifampicin against both mycobacterial strains. Compound 6j had a significant effect on the inhibition of bacterial respiration as demonstrated by the MTT assay. The compounds showed not only bacteriostatic activity, but also bactericidal activity. Preliminary in vitro cytotoxicity screening of the compounds performed using normal human dermal fibroblasts (NHDF) proved that the tested compounds showed an insignificant cytotoxic effect on human cells (IC50 > 37 µM), making these compounds interesting for further investigation. Moreover, the intermolecular similarity of novel compounds was analyzed in the multidimensional space (mDS) of the structure/property-related in silico descriptors by means of principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA), respectively. The distance-oriented structure/property distribution was related with the experimental lipophilic data.
Yersiniosis is an important zoonotic disease; however, data are scarce on the resistance of enteropathogenic yersiniae, especially that of Y. pseudotuberculosis. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of 21 antibiotics and 3 essential oils (EOs) were determined by broth microdilution for Y. enterocolitica bioserotype 4/O:3 strains isolated from domestic swine (n = 132) and Y. pseudotuberculosis strains isolated from wild boars (n = 46). For 15 of 21 antibiotics, statistically significant differences were found between MIC values of Y. enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis. While Y. enterocolitica was more resistant to amoxiclav, ampicillin, cefotaxime, cefuroxime, gentamicin, imipenem, meropenem, tetracycline, tobramycin, and trimethoprim, Y. pseudotuberculosis was more resistant to cefepime, ceftazidime, colistin, erythromycin, and nitrofurantoin. Statistically significant differences were found between various essential oils (p < 0.001) and species (p < 0.001). The lowest MICs for multiresistant Y. enterocolitica (n = 12) and Y. pseudotuberculosis (n = 12) were obtained for cinnamon (median 414 and 207 μg/mL, respectively) and oregano EOs (median 379 and 284 μg/mL), whereas thyme EO showed significantly higher MIC values (median 738 and 553 μg/mL; p < 0.001). There was no difference between Y. enterocolitica strains of plant (1A) and animal (4/O:3) origin (p = 0.855). The results show that Y. enterocolitica is generally more resistant to antimicrobials than Y. pseudotuberculosis.
A series of thirty-two anilides of 3-(trifluoromethyl)cinnamic acid (series 1) and 4-(trifluoromethyl)cinnamic acid (series 2) was prepared by microwave-assisted synthesis. All the compounds were tested against reference strains Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213 and Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 29212 and resistant clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant E. faecalis (VRE). All the compounds were evaluated in vitro against Mycobacterium smegmatis ATCC 700084 and M. marinum CAMP 5644. (2E)-3-[3-(Trifluoromethyl)phenyl]-N-[4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]prop-2-enamide (1j), (2E)-N-(3,5-dichlorophenyl)-3-[3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]prop-2-enamide (1o) and (2E)-N-[3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]-3-[4-(trifluoromethyl)-phenyl]prop-2-enamide (2i), (2E)-N-[3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]-3-[4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]-prop-2-enamide (2p) showed antistaphylococcal (MICs/MBCs 0.15–5.57 µM) as well as anti-enterococcal (MICs/MBCs 2.34–44.5 µM) activity. The growth of M. marinum was strongly inhibited by compounds 1j and 2p in a MIC range from 0.29 to 2.34 µM, while all the agents of series 1 showed activity against M. smegnatis (MICs ranged from 9.36 to 51.7 µM). The performed docking study demonstrated the ability of the compounds to bind to the active site of the mycobacterial enzyme InhA. The compounds had a significant effect on the inhibition of bacterial respiration, as demonstrated by the MTT assay. The compounds showed not only bacteriostatic activity but also bactericidal activity. Preliminary in vitro cytotoxicity screening was assessed using the human monocytic leukemia cell line THP-1 and, except for compound 2p, all effective agents did show insignificant cytotoxic effect. Compound 2p is an interesting anti-invasive agent with dual (cytotoxic and antibacterial) activity, while compounds 1j and 1o are the most interesting purely antibacterial compounds within the prepared molecules.
Background: A current topic of ma jor interest in regenerative medicine is the development of novel materials for accelerated healing of sutures, and nanofibers seem to be suitable materials for this purpose. As various studies have shown, nanofibers are able to partially substitute missing extracellular matrix and to stimulate cell proliferation and differentiation in sutures. Therefore, we tested nanofibrous membranes and cryogenically fractionalized nanofibers as potential materials for support of the healing of intestinal anastomoses in a rabbit model. Materials and methods: We compared cryogenically fractionalized chitosan and PVA nanofibers with chitosan and PVA nanofiber membranes designed for intestine anastomosis healing in a rabbit animal model. The anastomoses were biomechanically and histologically tested. Results: In strong contrast to nanofibrous membranes, the fractionalized nanofibers did show positive effects on the healing of intestinal anastomoses in rabbits. The fractionalized nanofibers were able to reach deep layers that are key to increased mechanical strength of the intestine. Moreover, fractionalized nanofibers led to the formation of collagen-rich 3D tissue significantly exceeding the healing effects of the 2D flat nanofiber membranes. In addition, the fractionalized chitosan nanofibers eliminated peritonitis, significantly stimulated anastomosis healing and led to a higher density of microvessels, in addition to a larger fraction of myofibroblasts and collagen type I and III. Biomechanical tests supported these histological findings. Conclusion: We concluded that the fractionalized chitosan nanofibers led to accelerated healing for rabbit colorectal anastomoses by the targeted stimulation of collagen-producing cells in the intestine, the smooth muscle cells and the fibroblasts. We believe that the collagen-producing cells were stimulated both directly due to the presence of a biocompatible scaffold providing cell adhesion, and indirectly, by a proper stimulation of immunocytes in the suture.
Black kites of the nominal subspecies Milvus migrans migrans breed in Europe and winter regularly in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. As a new phenomenon, black kites with morphological characteristics of the subspecies Milvus migrans lineatus are observed in Europe. Based on observations of black kites in winter 2020/2021 summarized in this paper, based on other recent reports about wintering black kites in Europe and based on juvenile black kite tagged on Crete and tracked for two years, we conclude that hundreds to thousands of black kites are now regularly wintering in south of Europe, and in smaller numbers in other parts of Europe as well as in northern Africa. The growing number of wintering black kites in Europe is apparently caused by members of the population from a hybrid zone between M. m. migrans and M. m. lineatus breeding east of the Urals, i.e. from the area of the European part of Russia. This is consistent with the hypothesis of the spreading of M. m. lineatus and a subsequent hybridization zone between M. m. migrans and M. m. lineatus in a westerly direction from Siberia across continental Europe. Moreover, two black kites found dead on Crete were attributed to M. m. lineatus and M. m. migrans by cytochrome B gene sequence analyses. The juvenile black kite with lineatus features tagged on Crete and telemetrically tracked during the next two years moved to the south-western part of Russia during the next two summers, but did not breed. It spent the following two winters at the same landfill in south-western Turkey. It seems that an adaptation to food sources provided by municipal waste landfills is important for black kites wintering in Europe, the Middle East and Morocco. Highlights • Hundreds to thousands of black kites are now regularly wintering in Europe. • The growing number of wintering black kites is caused by birds from a hybrid zone between Milvus migrans migrans and M. m. lineatus in eastern Europe. • Municipal waste landfills are important as food sources for black kites wintering in Europe.
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1,081 members
Zdenek Knotek
  • Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic
Jiri Pikula
  • Department of Ecology & Diseases of Zoo Animals, Game, Fish and Bees
Hana Bandouchova
  • Department of Ecology and Diseases of Game, Fish and Bees
Petr Jahn
  • Equine Clinic
Vlasta Svobodová
  • Department of Pathological Morphology and Parasitology
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Prof. MVDr. Ing. Pavel Suchy, CSc.
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