Author: Li, Kevin
Date: 02-03-04 21:57
Source: The Press Democrat, 30 Jan 2004 [edited]
Volunteers pulled thousands of dead ducks from Clear Lake this week,
hoping to prevent the spread of avian cholera to other waterfowl,
including vulnerable flocks of great blue herons and white pelicans.
As of Thursday, about 3500 ruddy ducks had died, along with a small
number of mallards, egrets, grebes, and scaups, in the first recorded
outbreak of the fast-moving disease in Lake County. Avian cholera is
not believed to attack human beings or other mammals.
The outbreak began 14 Jan 2004, when a flock of about 15 000 ruddy
ducks — small, chunky diving ducks — were blown in by a winter
storm, joining a flock of several thousand already at the lake, said
Allan Buckmann, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of
Fish and Game.
On 18 Jan, a game warden saw a dozen dead ducks floating on the lake.
The following day, there were 130 more. At the epidemic’s peak, ducks
were dying at the rate of 600 a day.
About 70 volunteers walked the shoreline and went out in boats,
pulling in carcasses, wrapping them in plastic bags, and depositing
them for removal by state Fish and Game, said Sandie Elliott,
director of the Lake County Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.
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