City of Melville awaiting test results after 50 birds found dead at Frederick Baldwin Park
The cause behind 50 birds dying at a Kardinya park is still not confirmed, with the City of Melville and animal rescue groups waiting on the results of tests.
A second suspected case of botulism at Frederick Baldwin Park in less than a year put WA Seabird Rescue and Native Arc volunteers into action on February 10.
Five carcasses were sent to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to test whether it was botulism, which is described as a naturally occurring soil bacteria that causes paralysis in the birds.
Along with the 50 dead ducks, coots and great crested grebes that were retrieved, more than 40 sick birds were picked up and taken to Native Arc.
City chief executive Marten Tieleman said the council’s environmental team had been visiting the site throughout the week, monitoring for sick birds and maintaining the lake including weed control, litter collection and aeration.
“Throughout the week we have been working and communicating closely with our volunteer rescue and rehabilitation groups and have also been taking advantage of some public education opportunities with community members who have visited Frederick Baldwin park over the last few days,” he said.
Mr Tieleman said signage would remain in place until the City felt it was appropriate to remove it.
“We’ll also seek to undertake a community water quality awareness campaign, which will ask the community to be mindful of their actions in terms of what they’re putting into the drains, especially given that the first flush of rain after summer could have an impact on water quality,” he said.
“In the longer term, we’ll be looking to undertake a more detailed study on the lake, and identify potential opportunities and treatments that we haven’t trialled or aren’t already undertaking.”
WA Seabird Rescue treasurer Fiona O’Sullivan said her organisation’s volunteers were continuing to monitor the park.
“We haven’t picked up any birds since last Thursday, which is a good sign,” she said.
About 15 birds were killed after an outbreak of botulism during Easter 2019, with WASR volunteers again working with Native Arc to help the wildlife.
The City of Melville responded by trying to improve the water quality at the park by removing pollutants through the installation of plants and re-|locating wildlife. It also re-homed some of the ducks and geese who were eating that vegetation.
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