1,000 waterbirds found dead ‘due to disease’ in Canterbury, New Zealand

The disease is thought to have spread down the country from the North Island.
Photo By MICHAEL BATE/SUPPLIED
Nearly 1000 birds have died at wastewater treatment plants in Canterbury after an outbreak of botulism.
 
Hundreds of waterfowl including ducks, teal and geese have been found dead at a treatment plant in Kaiapoi, with more discovered at other sites in Waimakariri and Christchurch.
 
The Kaiapoi plant’s shallow ponds and wetlands are home to between 5000 and 6000 birds, including mallards, paradise shelducks, black swans, teal and the New Zealand shoveler.
 
Officials estimate around 960 birds have been killed by the disease over the past month, accounting for almost 20 per cent of the population.
 
Many, too graphic to publish, show decaying birds being eaten by maggots as they float on the surface.
 
Authorities insist they are doing all they can to manage the situation and maintain the plant is safe, but say there is nothing they can do to halt the disease’s impact.
 
Gerard Cleary, utilities and roading manager at Waimakariri District Council, said the council was looking at whether there was more it could do to reduce future risk.
 
“It is a natural process and is certainly not something for people to be alarmed about. It is just an ongoing issue in New Zealand and we are not the only region that has it.”
Courtesy of stuff.co.nz 

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