December 6, 2013 at 9:27 pm #1690MikeKeymaster
Dead Fish, Squirrels Cause Alarm In Oak Lawn
Fish May Die From Heat And Lower Oxygen In Water, But That Doesn’t Go For Squirrels
OAK LAWN, Ill. (STNG) ― Discoveries of dead fish and other wildlife near Oak Lawn Lake have animal control officials asking questions.
Dozens of fish were found floating in the lake in late May. More unusual was a series of reports about dead squirrels around the lake, animal control officer Elisabeth Perry said.
“My first inclination was ‘What’s going on?’ ” said Perry, who is sending one squirrel carcass downstate to the University of Illinois veterinary school for a necropsy, or an animal autopsy.
Lab results should indicate whether toxins played a role in the squirrel’s death. Concerns likely will be allayed if no contaminants are found.
It’s not unusual to find mass deaths among fish as water warms quickly during the spring and summer months, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Maggie Carson said.
“A combination of heat and reduced oxygen stresses the fish,” Carson said. “Death among land animals is not consistent with that type of problem.”
Neighbors have their own theories about a growing number of floaters at the surface of the man-made lake.
Some attribute the deaths to trash — both illegal dumping and debris accidentally blowing into the lake when winds pick up and carry bins into the shallow waters.
Others say the problem has worsened since the village reconfigured the detention facility a few years ago.
Lynn Krauss director of the public works department — which maintains the detention facility — said a lack of oxygen and poor water quality has been known to kill fish in the past.
Krauss hasn’t received any recent complaints about dead wildlife.
“The birds look pretty healthy,” said Perry, who is taking residents’ concerns seriously but proceeding with caution.
“I’m just worried about (birds and other wildlife) eating dead animals because it could be passed on to them if it’s something unnatural that’s killing them,” she said.
(Source: Sun-Times News Group Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2006. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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