Turkey Vultures Turning Up Comatose

Turkey vultures
Turkey vultures are California’s most common scavenging bird. Last month, lab work determined pentobarbital — a drug used to euthanize animals — is to blame for turkey vultures arriving comatose in the state’s wildlife clinics.
Image Credit: David Syzdek via Flickr

Recent lab work has determined why turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) have been turning up comatose in wildlife clinics in northern California since last year. Researchers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife conducted lab work on six sick vultures’ stomach contents last month and found traces of pentobarbital — a drug used to euthanize animals. They concluded that turkey vultures had consumed carcasses of euthanized animals that were not disposed of properly. Read more about it at KCET Los Angeles.