Lake Moananui’s dead ducks disgust
Dozens of ducks continue to die in Tokoroa’s Lake Moananui as visitors plead with the district council to do more to stop it.
Since January the South Waikato District Council has received 17 notifications about dead and dying ducks at the lake but until late last month, after a media report on the situation, no testing had been done to find the cause.
Denise Capper, who has been visiting the lake three times a day for the past 13 years, said every day she was continuing to see up to 12 dead ducks.
‘‘I’ve been down to the council three times to complain but they just don’t seem interested,’’ she said.
‘‘At times the council has not been down for three weeks to pick them up. It absolutely stinks and there are blowflys and maggots.’’
Fellow visitor Toni Williams said many of the ducks had been left to rot in the water.
‘‘[It’s] a great shame that the public can see these scenes. Yet the authority in the area at the same time just drove past,’’ she said.
‘‘[There was] even a carcass, that must have been there some time.’’
The council however claims to be checking the situation three times a week.
‘‘We also respond ad hoc to service requests from the public,’’ communications manager Kerry Fabrie said.
Fish and Game ranger Don Pemberton believes the deaths are due to botulism.
‘‘Lakes, ponds and waterways are heating up and making perfect habitat for the growth of the bacterium which in turn kills the ducks,’’ he said
‘‘Until we get fresh rainfall and cooler temperatures the deaths will be ongoing.’’
Fabrie said 86 dead ducks have been picked up in recent months and one was sent away last month for testing but the botulism toxin cannot be tested for.
‘‘If the autopsy is inconclusive it is ruled by default as avian botulism. In the case of the duck we sent for autopsy no conclusive cause of death was identified,’’ she said.
She said the best way to prevent botulism from spreading was by not feeding the ducks
‘‘Especially don’t feed ducks bread. Bread can rot in the lake and this promotes the growth of botulism bacteria,’’ she said.
Waikato Regional Council incident response team leader Derek Hartley said tests have ruled out the lake water itself as the cause.