Bacteria killing ducks in Sugar House Park pond

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Hundreds of dead ducks were floating upside down in the Sugar House Park pond and others more were dead on the banks.
"It's the saddest thing you ever want to see. To see all these ducks die especially the ones with the little babies," -Janet Wade
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Hundreds of dead ducks were floating upside down in the Sugar House Park pond and others more were dead on the banks.

Health officials say the dead birds don't pose a threat to humans, but park goers wanted the ducks cleaned up.

What is believed to be avian botulism is killing ducks.  Noel Versteeg who works for the Parks and Recreation Department says he put at least 60 dead fowl in a trash can by noon on Monday.

Janet Wade said, "It's the saddest thing you ever want to see. To see all these ducks die especially the ones with the little babies."
Avian botulism comes from bacteria in the wet soil. The water gets hot in shallow areas and the bacteria grows to dangerous levels.  Bugs eat the bacteria and ducks eat the bugs before dying.

Animal Control and the Parks and Recreation Department say this happens every year and there's nothing they can do.

"I just think there's got to be a way to prevent it because this is not the first time this has happened," said Wade.

Treating the water would kill other wildlife and draining the pond would expose the ducks to even more bacteria, a Parks official said.  The animals would likely walk to the muddy pond bottom where bacteria is at the highest concentrations.

The water will need to cool or a heavy rain will need to dilute the bacteria to safe levels for the ducks, to stop the dying.

Until then, officials say there is nothing they can do for the ducks, stating mother nature is taking its course. 

"Nobody wants to take a stand or take responsibility for it but obviously need to have some action taken," said Sue Harkness.


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