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Parasitological and pathological investigation on eagles (Milvus species) declining in the Bundelkhand region of India

Parasitological and pathological investigation on eagles (Milvus species) declining in the Bundelkhand region of India
Ragni Gupta


Department of Zoology, University of Lucknow, Lucknow 226 007, INDIA.


Eagles are threatened worldwide because of their position at the top of the food chain making them more vulnerable to toxic chemicals, such as pesticides, insecticides and other man-made toxic chemicals, since each link in the food chain tends to concentrate chemicals from the lower link. These chemicals are accumulated at the top of the food chain and affect their reproduction (Elliot et al., 1996).

Changes in the environment have destroyed their habitat so that less space is available for eagles to exist. Clearing and cutting of forests has decimated the tall and old trees that eagles use for nesting. Thus deforestation and other habitat destruction are one of the serious threats to eagles. The potential sources of nest disturbance include forestry activities, roads, off-road vehicles, recreational activities such as cliff climbing and hang-gliding, low-flying aircraft and military practices (Kemp and Newton, 2003).

Eagles are exposed to a variety of external parasites (Philips, 2000) and internal parasites from the prey that they eat. These infections may make them weak and vulnerable to other environmental factors. A number of anthropogenic activities such as mining, industrial, battery recycling units, painting industries and application of insecticides and fertilizers contribute to the elevated levels of pollutants including toxic metals in the environment. In the competition of urbanization and industrialization man has contributed pollution to the life and ecology of plants and animals.

No data base is available for eagles in Bundelkhand region. Therefore the object of the proposed research work is to know the reasons of sharp disappearance in the population of this bird of agro importance. Surveys carried out in the last 5 years from 2007-2011, covered wide and different geographical areas of Bundelkhand region of India. Many serious threats were recorded during the study like habitat loss, reduced food availability, climatic conditions, pesticides, parasitic infection and anthropogenic disturbances. This study has helped to highlight the population status and gather attention from concerned authorities and local people to take conservation measures.