News 9.5.2016 01:37 pm

What’s killing our flamingos?

Flamingos have returned to the Garden Route after disappearing from waterways following a death. Photo: iStock Photo.

Flamingos have returned to the Garden Route after disappearing from waterways following a death. Photo: iStock Photo.

The good news is it’s not avian flu.

Aquatic scientists suggest avian botulism may be the cause of the recent death of flamingos in the Langvlei area, Western Cape.

This after Garden Route National Park spokesperson Nandi Mgwadlamba confirmed that a dead flamingo found in Langvlei last Wednesday was one of four dead birds collected this month in the area, Knysna-Plett Herald reported.

“For the past 18 months SA National Parks aquatic scientists have submitted dead birds collected earlier to various laboratories for tests to ascertain the causes of the death. Samples were tested for avian flu, Newcastle disease and avian botulism.

“All tests came back negative, though clinical symptoms displayed by affected birds indicate avian botulism as the likely cause of death,” added Mgwadlamba.

She said scientists suspected natural causes could have triggered the outbreak, such as “low water levels coupled with warm weather”.

“Lead aquatic scientist Ian Russell said pH levels, the levels of salinity in the water and the presence of organic plant material are not substantially different this year to what they were last year.

“He has also observed that birds are dying in localised areas (Rondevlei, Langvlei and Eilandsvlei only). No dead birds were collected in Swartvlei,” Mgwadlamba added.

She said the most appropriate response to break the cycle of transmission of any possible disease is to pick up dead birds immediately, thus removing them from the system in time not to spread to other birds.

– Caxton News Service

 

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