Beach Haven West Dead Duck Testing Results Inconclusive

Aug 30, 2017

The results of necropsies conducted on ducks found dead in the lagoons of Beach Haven West earlier this month are inconclusive, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. However, based on the characteristics of the ducks, and the environmental conditions at the time, the most likely cause of death was botulism, DEP officials said.

“Unfortunately, testing in wildlife cases like this is not always conclusive,” said Larry Hajna, a public information officer for the DEP. The testing was performed at the University of Pennsylvania, he said.

When the ducks were found by residents Aug. 3, the area was recovering from recent rainstorms and high temperatures. Both add to brackish conditions in the lagoons, he said. Another factor is that lagoons typically don’t see a lot of moving water, Hajna said, and botulism lives in stagnant water. It grows in confined spaces with low oxygen, such as lagoons, he said.

The DEP’s Fish and Wildlife Division collected samples of the ducks removed from the lagoons Aug. 3 for evaluation, he said. Along with the Marine Water division of the DEP, they monitored water quality in the lagoons and found no chemicals. The conditions in the lagoons, he said, were obviously degraded, and that promotes algae growth. Samples of algae taken by the state agency came back negative for a toxic species, Hajna had said earlier this month. —G.G.S.

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