Avian botulism suspected cause of local duck death > Shoalhaven City Council

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Avian botulism suspected cause of local duck death

Shoalhaven City Council has erected signage within both Harry Sawkins and Marriott Parks, warning the public not to feed or handle the local wildlife, as a precautionary measure following a suspected outbreak of avian botulism within ducks inhabiting the ponds.

Council had been investigating the death of ducks within both parks since early December when it was originally suspected that acts of animal cruelty had been to blame for an increased number of deceased animals found in both locations.

However further recent investigations, carried out in conjunction with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has identified that the cause of death may be an outbreak of avian botulism.

A common disease, avian botulism is caused by the bacteria clostridium botulinum - a naturally occurring organism living within lakes and ponds.

Outbreaks often occur when there is a combination of low water levels, warm temperatures and lack of oxygen in the water.

Director of City Services and Operations, Bill Paterson said Council had been working alongside the DPI in putting practices in place to minimise any further outbreak of the disease.

“Avian botulism is a naturally occurring phenomenon common during periods of warm weather,” said Mr Paterson.

“The most effective measure in combating an outbreak is the removal of any dead ducks as soon as they are discovered”.

“Council has put in place measures to ensure any deceased animals are quickly removed from the area and we will continue to work with the DPI in dealing with the outbreak.”

“Park users are asked not to touch or feed any of the wildlife within Harry Sawkins Park and are reminded that pets must be kept on a leash at all times.”

Regular water testing carried out within Harry Sawkins Park has found water quality within the pond to be at satisfactory levels.

Mr Paterson said Council staff will continue to closely monitor the situation.

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