Heavy metal accumulation as a threat to the endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus L.) in Turkey

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Yamac E., Ozden M., Balaban S., Malkoc S.

TURKISH JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, vol.43, no.6, pp.628-635, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 43 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.3906/zoo-1903-21
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.628-635
  • Keywords: Anatolia, birds of prey, ecotoxicology, feather, noninvasive methods, scavenger, BREEDING PERFORMANCE, POPULATION DECLINES, LEAD, FEATHERS, EXPOSURE, MERCURY, AMMUNITION, POLLUTION, BIRDS, BIOACCUMULATION
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Due to anthropogenic activity, most vulture species are threatened. Neophron percnopterus, the Egyptian vulture, is a vulture species with a declining population. One of the most important factors threatening the species is exposure to chemicals. The second largest population of this bird species is found in Turkey. Accumulation of heavy metals for this species has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to detect and measure As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, and Zn values in the feathers of Neophron percnopterus. Calamis and vane, which are different part of the feathers, were analyzed separately with ICP-OES. According to the results, the mean value of heavy metal accumulation is below the threshold levels, except for Pb (mean +/- SD = 32.26 +/- 74.71 mu g/g d.w.) and Cr (mean +/- SD = 17.82 +/- 33.74 mu g/g d.w.) in vanes. On the other hand, all heavy metal values other than Hg and Zn had critical levels, which may result in lethal and sublethal effects on individuals.