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Abstract

Severe inadequacies exist in the veterinary care and welfare of the animals of Rapa Nui. The most marked problems are livestock overpopulation and the widespread toxicity of horses and cattle associated with ingestion of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the plant, Crotalaria grahamiana. The endemic toxicosis is compounded by pervasive malnutrition, dehydration, parasitism, and antiquated notions of herd management. Intoxicated livestock wander the island searching for sustenance, resulting in progressive damage of precious archaeological sites. Environmental impact of the foraging livestock creates conflicts of interests among ranchers, archaeologists, and the tourism industry.

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