Dead birds Georgian Bay
October 24, 2011 by staff
Ministry of Natural Resources Province, which will begin cleaning up the banks of the dead birds Monday, suspected of botulism could be behind the mass killing.
Hundreds of fish began to die at the end of August, and now thousands of corpses of the loons, mallards, grebes, gulls and Canada geese sandy coast.
The two-mile stretch of the Bay on Lake Huron is part of the area the most popular summer home.
Ministry spokesman John Cooper said the fresh samples were sent last week to the University of Guelph for testing of diseases in fish and birds, including botulinum toxin type E.
The bacterium occurs naturally in the form of spores harmless in bottom sediments of the lake.
Under certain conditions – rich source of nutrients, lack of oxygen and the optimum temperature – the bacteria begin to produce the toxin, which then enters the food chain.
If botulism, Cooper said, it will stop naturally.
“There seems to be no long-term concern for fish and wildlife (East) area.”
However, the bacteria become active in dead bodies, so that the Ministry is advising people to keep their pets away from dead animals on the coast.
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