Lake Moananui’s dead ducks dis­gust

South Waikato News - - Out & About - LUKE KIRKEBY

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.

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