PMA01 - Wildlife Toxicology
8:00 AM to 6:30 PM - Monday, November 12, 2001
Exhibit Hall A

(PM009) Pesticide Poisoning in Raptors Submitted for West Nile Virus Testing in New Jersey.

Stansley, William1, Roscoe, Douglas1, 1

ABSTRACT- During 1999 and 2000 we obtained brain samples from 95 raptors that were found dead throughout New Jersey and submitted for examination as part of the state's West Nile Virus (WNV) monitoring program. Eighty five of the brain samples were analyzed for organochlorine (OC) pesticides and PCBs. Testing for acute poisoning by organophosphate and carbamate pesticides was performed on 73 of the samples using brain cholinesterase (ChE) assays and ChE reactivation. Brain OC metabolite residues indicative of chlordane poisoning were found in 21 (25%) of the birds tested. Dieldrin appeared to be a significant contributing factor in some cases. In contrast to poisoning by banned cyclodiene pesticides, only two birds (3%) exhibited brain ChE depression suggestive of acute poisoning by currently used anticholinesterase pesticides. Cooper's hawks and red-tailed hawks were the most numerous of the 12 species tested, comprising 61% of the sample. Chlordane poisoning was a major cause of Cooper's hawk mortality, accounting for 14 of 36 (39%) of the birds tested, compared to a WNV incidence of 3%. In red-tailed hawks, however, the incidence of chlordane poisoning (1 of 19, 5%) was substantially lower than the incidence of WNW (20%), probably due to differences in feeding habits. These findings demonstrate the continuing importance of cyclodienes as a causative factor in the poisoning of raptors, particularly Cooper's hawks.

Key words: chlordane, raptors, pesticides, cholinesterase

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