Vultures at Imjin river killed by insecticide

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Vultures at Imjin river killed by insecticide

The mass death of vultures in a field in Paju, Gyeonggi, near the Imjin River on Dec. 14 was due to agricultural chemicals, said the state quarantine agency yesterday.

The National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service conducted an autopsy on three carcasses and detected carbofuran, a highly toxic pesticide, in the vultures.

“Hair of undigested animals were found in the stomachs of the dead vultures,” an inspector at the agency said. “After examination, [we found] an agricultural pesticide that is used to eradicate harmful insects.”

Hundreds of vultures descend on the Imjin River in Paju in the winter, and it’s known as one of the largest wintering sites for the species. Of a total of 55 vultures found incapacitated in the field, 39 birds died.

The accident is the worst since 1997, when 29 vultures died from poisoning near the Imjin River.

The birds are designated as Natural Monument No. 243-1. Carbofuran is banned in the European Union and Canada because of its toxicity to wildlife.


By Jeon Ik-jin, Yoo Sun-young [enational@joongang.co.kr]

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