Home > Mass Animal Deaths > California: Hundreds of Mallard Duck Deaths Confounds Wildlife and Public Health Officials

California: Hundreds of Mallard Duck Deaths Confounds Wildlife and Public Health Officials


By ERIKA I. RITCHIE – “LAKE FOREST – Wildlife and public health officials are still mystified about what is killing hundreds of mallard ducks who live in some ponds, lakes and watersheds in the city.

According to results released Tuesday by the Orange County Vector Control District on tests run on duck carcasses, officials still can not decisively say whether botulism or salmonella is causing the ducks’ deaths. They have concluded, however, that none of the water fowl has died from a vector-borne disease like West Nile virus, said Jared Dever, a spokesman with the district. The dead ducks were taken to the district by officials from OC Animal Care and the Wetlands and Wildlife Center Care Center in Huntington Beach.

‘The duck die-off is inconclusive based on the samples we tested,’ Dever said. ‘Speculation in the lab is there may have not been enough bacteria in the bird. The window is still open on botulism pending the testing of a bird carcass with a higher level of toxin.’

Dever said the district’s role in the duck death puzzle is done.

‘It takes the die-off out of the arena for us because it’s not a vector-borne disease — something that can be transmitted by animals to humans,’ he said. ‘It will require further testing; only then will you have a clue about how to stop it.’

Exactly who is responsible for further testing is unclear. Officials from OC Animal Care and the city of Lake Forest said they believe Vector Control will continue to test samples brought in. There has also not been any testing of the area’s waters — something that would likely fall to the responsibility of the affected homeowner association of Lake I.

Michael Hearst, general manager of the Vector district, said his agency has exhausted its testing efforts.” Read more.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths
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