Scavenging of rodent carcasses following simulated mortality due to field applications of anticoagulant rodenticide

Abstract : Worldwide, agricultural uses of anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) cause poisonings of non-target wildlife as observed in France where bromadiolone is used to control water vole outbreaks. Following bromadiolone field application, a part of the vole population may die above-ground of the treated plots and thus, can represent an important risk of secondary poisoning for scavengers. In this study, water voles were trapped in a non-treated area and their carcasses were placed aboveground in plots located in an area where a vole outbreak occurred. Then, the environmental persistence, the diurnal and nocturnal scavenging rates of water vole carcasses were assessed in autumn 2011 and in spring 2012. The diurnal scavenger species were also identified. The environmental persistence of the carcasses to reach at least a scavenging rate of 87.5 % was 0.5–1.5 day. The average rates of diurnal and nocturnal scavenging ranged from 67 to 100 % and 5 to 100 %, respectively. They depended on the composition of the scavenger community present near the monitored plots; diurnal scavenging rates being higher with corvids than with raptors. In autumn, the red kite and the common buzzard were the main scavengers in one of the plots, what suggests a high risk of poisoning for these raptors during post-nuptial migration. So, the collection of vole carcasses after treatments and the limitations of bromadiolone applications when high densities of predators/scavengers are observed could be implemented to mitigate the risks of secondary poisoning.
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Journal articles
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 4:04:46 PM
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Julie Montaz, Marion Jacquot, Michaël Coeurdassier. Scavenging of rodent carcasses following simulated mortality due to field applications of anticoagulant rodenticide. Ecotoxicology, Springer Verlag, 2014, 23, pp.1671-1680. ⟨10.1007/s10646-014-1306-7⟩. ⟨hal-01074842⟩

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