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author:("Prakash, vibh")
1.  Molecular sexing of threatened Gyps vultures: an important strategy for conservation breeding and ecological studies 
SpringerPlus  2012;1(1):62.
During the last two decades populations of three resident species of Gyps vulture have declined dramatically and are now threatened with extinction in South Asia. Sex identification of vultures is of key importance for the purpose of conservation breeding as it is desirable to have an equal sex ratio in these monogamous species which are housed together in large colony aviaries. Because vultures are monomorphic, with no differences in external morphology or plumage colour between the sexes, other methods are required for sex identification. Molecular methods for sex identification in birds rely on allelic length or nucleotide sequence discrimination of the chromohelicase-DNA binding (CHD) gene located on male and female chromosomes ZZ and ZW, respectively. We characterized the partial sequences of CHD alleles from Gyps indicus, Gyps bengalensis, Gyps himalayensis and Aegypius monachus and analysed the applicability of five molecular methods of sex identification of 46 individual vultures including 26 known-sex G. bengalensis and G. indicus. The results revealed that W-specific PCR in combination with ZW-common PCR is a quick, accurate and simple method, and is ideal for sex identification of vultures. The method is also suitable to augment ecological studies for identifying sex of these endangered birds during necropsy examinations especially when gonads are not apparent, possibly due to regression during non-breeding seasons.
doi:10.1186/2193-1801-1-62
PMCID: PMC3540358  PMID: 23316450
Molecular sex identification; Gyps vulture; Cinereous vulture; Vulture conservation; Captive breeding
2.  The Population Decline of Gyps Vultures in India and Nepal Has Slowed since Veterinary Use of Diclofenac was Banned 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49118.
Populations of oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus) and slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris) crashed during the mid-1990s throughout the Indian subcontinent. Surveys in India, initially conducted in 1991–1993 and repeated in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007, revealed that the population of Gyps bengalensis had fallen by 2007 to 0.1% of its numbers in the early 1990s, with the population of Gyps indicus and G. tenuirostris combined having fallen to 3.2% of its earlier level. A survey of G. bengalensis in western Nepal indicated that the size of the population in 2009 was 25% of that in 2002. In this paper, repeat surveys conducted in 2011 were analysed to estimate recent population trends. Populations of all three species of vulture remained at a low level, but the decline had slowed and may even have reversed for G. bengalensis, both in India and Nepal. However, estimates of the most recent population trends are imprecise, so it is possible that declines may be continuing, though at a significantly slower rate. The degree to which the decline of G. bengalensis in India has slowed is consistent with the expected effects on population trend of a measured change in the level of contamination of ungulate carcasses with the drug diclofenac, which is toxic to vultures, following a ban on its veterinary use in 2006. The most recent available information indicates that the elimination of diclofenac from the vultures’ food supply is incomplete, so further efforts are required to fully implement the ban.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049118
PMCID: PMC3492300  PMID: 23145090
3.  Effectiveness of Action in India to Reduce Exposure of Gyps Vultures to the Toxic Veterinary Drug Diclofenac 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19069.
Contamination of their carrion food supply with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac has caused rapid population declines across the Indian subcontinent of three species of Gyps vultures endemic to South Asia. The governments of India, Pakistan and Nepal took action in 2006 to prevent the veterinary use of diclofenac on domesticated livestock, the route by which contamination occurs. We analyse data from three surveys of the prevalence and concentration of diclofenac residues in carcasses of domesticated ungulates in India, carried out before and after the implementation of a ban on veterinary use. There was little change in the prevalence and concentration of diclofenac between a survey before the ban and one conducted soon after its implementation, with the percentage of carcasses containing diclofenac in these surveys estimated at 10.8 and 10.7%, respectively. However, both the prevalence and concentration of diclofenac had fallen markedly 7–31 months after the implementation of the ban, with the true prevalence in this third survey estimated at 6.5%. Modelling of the impact of this reduction in diclofenac on the expected rate of decline of the oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis) in India indicates that the decline rate has decreased to 40% of the rate before the ban, but is still likely to be rapid (about 18% year−1). Hence, further efforts to remove diclofenac from vulture food are still needed if the future recovery or successful reintroduction of vultures is to be feasible.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019069
PMCID: PMC3092754  PMID: 21589920
4.  Henipavirus Infection in Fruit Bats (Pteropus giganteus), India 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2008;14(8):1309-1311.
We tested 41 bats for antibodies against Nipah and Hendra viruses to determine whether henipaviruses circulate in pteropid fruit bats (Pteropus giganteus) in northern India. Twenty bats were seropositive for Nipah virus, which suggests circulation in this species, thereby extending the known distribution of henipaviruses in Asia westward by >1,000 km.
doi:10.3201/eid1408.071492
PMCID: PMC2600370  PMID: 18680665
Henipavirus; Nipah virus; Hendra virus; Pteropus giganteus; fruit bat; India; flying fox; encephalitis; South Asia; dispatch
5.  Diclofenac poisoning is widespread in declining vulture populations across the Indian subcontinent. 
Recent declines in the populations of three species of vultures in the Indian subcontinent are among the most rapid ever recorded in any bird species. Evidence from a previous study of one of these species, Gyps bengalensis, in the Punjab province of Pakistan, strongly implicates mortality caused by ingestion of residues of the veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac as the major cause of the decline. We show that a high proportion of Gyps bengalensis and G. indicus found dead or dying in a much larger area of India and Nepal also have residues of diclofenac and visceral gout, a post-mortem finding that is strongly associated with diclofenac contamination in both species. Hence, veterinary use of diclofenac is likely to have been the major cause of the rapid vulture population declines across the subcontinent.
PMCID: PMC1810094  PMID: 15801603
6.  Removing the Threat of Diclofenac to Critically Endangered Asian Vultures 
PLoS Biology  2006;4(3):e66.
Veterinary use of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug diclofenac in South Asia has resulted in the collapse of populations of three vulture species of the genusGyps to the most severe category of global extinction risk. Vultures are exposed to diclofenac when scavenging on livestock treated with the drug shortly before death. Diclofenac causes kidney damage, increased serum uric acid concentrations, visceral gout, and death. Concern about this issue led the Indian Government to announce its intention to ban the veterinary use of diclofenac by September 2005. Implementation of a ban is still in progress late in 2005, and to facilitate this we sought potential alternative NSAIDs by obtaining information from captive bird collections worldwide. We found that the NSAID meloxicam had been administered to 35 captiveGyps vultures with no apparent ill effects. We then undertook a phased programme of safety testing of meloxicam on the African white-backed vultureGyps africanus, which we had previously established to be as susceptible to diclofenac poisoning as the endangered AsianGyps vultures. We estimated the likely maximum level of exposure (MLE) of wild vultures and dosed birds by gavage (oral administration) with increasing quantities of the drug until the likely MLE was exceeded in a sample of 40G. africanus. Subsequently, sixG. africanus were fed tissues from cattle which had been treated with a higher than standard veterinary course of meloxicam prior to death. In the final phase, ten Asian vultures of two of the endangered species(Gyps bengalensis,Gyps indicus) were dosed with meloxicam by gavage; five of them at more than the likely MLE dosage. All meloxicam-treated birds survived all treatments, and none suffered any obvious clinical effects. Serum uric acid concentrations remained within the normal limits throughout, and were significantly lower than those from birds treated with diclofenac in other studies. We conclude that meloxicam is of low toxicity toGyps vultures and that its use in place of diclofenac would reduce vulture mortality substantially in the Indian subcontinent. Meloxicam is already available for veterinary use in India.
Phased testing reveals that the anti-inflammatory drug meloxicam is less toxic to endangeredGyps vultures than diclofenac and, if used as an alternative, could potentially reverse the catastrophic decline of these species in South Asia.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040066
PMCID: PMC1351921  PMID: 16435886

Results 1-6 (6)