Luck’s now on the side of dy­ing ducks

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

Ef­forts are un­der­way to save Toko­roa’s quack­ing, webbed­footed res­i­dents, af­ter months of on-go­ing duck deaths at Lake Moananui.

Dozens of ducks have been dy­ing in the man-made lake from sus­pected bot­u­lism and lit­tle is be­ing done to pre­vent the bac­te­ria from spread­ing. Craig Shep­herd from the Welling­ton Bird Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Trust is now say­ing enough is enough.

Shep­herd, who has over 400 ducks on his Ohariu Val­ley duck res­cue fa­cil­ity, said he was sad­dened af­ter read­ing about the deaths.

So on Tues­day, April 11 he will travel over five hours to the South Waikato town with mem­bers of his team to spend two days re­mov­ing any dead ducks in the lake and cap­tur­ing any sick ones which will be taken back to Welling­ton for treat­ment.

‘‘I un­der­stand the coun­cil can’t do a lot about the prob­lem as it is a bac­te­ria which is found right the way around New Zealand but I thought we can do some­thing so we have de­cided to come up, and with the help of the coun­cil and its animal con­trol team catch as many as we can,’’ he said.

He said while his team will be bring­ing all the spe­cial­ist gear for the job they are still in need of dinghies or the like to get out on the wa­ter.

‘‘We are hop­ing there will be lo­cals who might have a raft or dingy who will be able to help us out on the Wed­nes­day from around 9am,’’ he said.

He said while the op­er­a­tion would cost the trust thou­sands to carry out, it was worth it.

‘‘They are usu­ally sick for about a month but by giv­ing them fluid ev­ery­day and flush­ing the bac­te­ria out of their bod­ies they can come right,’’ he said.

‘‘It sad­dens me when any animal is left un­cared for when some­thing can be done.’’

He said the trust plans to use the sit­u­a­tion as a chance to learn more about bot­u­lism.

‘‘Later this year we might look at do­ing a study on how best to treat mass bot­u­lism so hope­fully what we learn from this in­ci­dent can also help other com­mu­ni­ties through­out the coun­try,’’ he said.

South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Kerry Fabrie said the coun­cil was keen to work with the trust.

‘‘The coun­cil is aware of how dis­tress­ing this sea­son has been for lake users,’’ she said.

MAARTEN HOLL/ FAIRFAX NZ

Craig Shep­herd from the Welling­ton Bird Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Trust.

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