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Thread: Devastation of Wildfowl at Cork Lough

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    Politics.ie Royalty toxic avenger's Avatar
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    Default Devastation of Wildfowl at Cork Lough

    The Evening Echo here in Cork reported today that 60 birds have been found dead at The Lough in Cork (a natural freshwater lake in Cork City that has been a wildfowl sanctuary for many decades), three swans being pulled out last night by vets, two dead, one nearly dead. Apparently it started happening a month ago. I myself noticed a dying swan about a month ago when walking my dogs there (I live next to it). Ciaran Lynch TD was here this morning expressing concern that the wildfowl population here is in danger of being devastated. On my way home just a couple of minutes ago there were vets and council workers out on the Lough in boats, there are five dead swans sitting on the slipway having been pulled from the island on the lake.

    The paper is mentioning the possibility of a virus causing all the death. There are tests being done at the moment to determine it, the council said they'd release a statement when they know. Does anyone here with any experience of wildfowl or living nearby wildfowl sanctuaries have any idea what it might be?

    Story can be seen on the front page pdf through http://www.eecho.ie

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    Quote Originally Posted by toxic avenger View Post
    The Evening Echo here in Cork reported today that 60 birds have been found dead at The Lough in Cork (a natural freshwater lake in Cork City that has been a wildfowl sanctuary for many decades), three swans being pulled out last night by vets, two dead, one nearly dead. Apparently it started happening a month ago. I myself noticed a dying swan about a month ago when walking my dogs there (I live next to it). Ciaran Lynch TD was here this morning expressing concern that the wildfowl population here is in danger of being devastated. On my way home just a couple of minutes ago there were vets and council workers out on the Lough in boats, there are five dead swans sitting on the slipway having been pulled from the island on the lake.

    The paper is mentioning the possibility of a virus causing all the death. There are tests being done at the moment to determine it, the council said they'd release a statement when they know. Does anyone here with any experience of wildfowl or living nearby wildfowl sanctuaries have any idea what it might be?

    Story can be seen on the front page pdf through http://www.eecho.ie
    Thats terrible news - I remember there was an issue a few years ago on the Lough with wildfowl being poisoned by discarded lead fishing weights, but I thought that issue had been sorted

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecoguy View Post
    Thats terrible news - I remember there was an issue a few years ago on the Lough with wildfowl being poisoned by discarded lead fishing weights, but I thought that issue had been sorted
    Well there are kids across there fishing as I speak. There are fishing tents out several nights every week, sometimes several, often with alarmed rods and no-one around (which i never understand, there's no challenge in it - it's essentially a giant pond, not a fast-flowing river - unless they're actually keeping the fish). There are signs the fish have apparently been affected too, by the way. The swan that I saw that time a month ago was sitting on its own at the grass near the slip, listless and clearly sick, neck bent. Normally the swans rasp at my dogs (who are trained not to go near or chase any birds) but this one had no interest, completely unmoved. They're taking several swans away in bags right now, there are probably more to come out.

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    Was just reading about that in the Examiner. All very sad.

    A mystery virus has killed around 50 swans in The Lough area of Cork city over the past few days.

    Cork City Council has yet to say how long it has been aware of the problem, but it has been removing the dead swans for the past few days.

    The virus is understood to have been introduced by migratory ducks that have settled in the area.

    Officials say the illness only affects fowl species and poses no threat to humans.
    Please don't tell Rupert Murdoch however. I'm not familiar with the area in question. Any chance of industrial or sewage/slurry contamination, in case it transpires that it's not caused by a virus?
    We all love animals. Why do we call some 'pets' and others 'dinner'?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MsAnneThrope View Post
    Was just reading about that in the Examiner. All very sad.



    Please don't tell Rupert Murdoch however. I'm not familiar with the area in question. Any chance of industrial or sewage/slurry contamination, in case it turns out not to be a virus?
    Thanks for the link. The Echo is reporting that fish have been affected too, though whether that is a separate issue I do not know. The Lough is in the middle of town, not far from UCC, about ten minutes walk from Patrick Street. The area is entirely residential. The Lough itself is fed from underwater springs (a lot of people wrongly think it is man-made, it is a real freshwater lake) but also from drains where rainwater enters it (it was roaring in last night from the south-east side). It is possible that the stormwater can carry in pollutants, but I doubt it here because (a) there's no record of it happening before and (b) it was very dry at the time the birds started dying, the heavy rain only occurring in the last week. I wonder if it is an avian-imported disease, could it be bird flu?

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    Quote Originally Posted by toxic avenger View Post
    The swan that I saw that time a month ago was sitting on its own at the grass near the slip, listless and clearly sick, neck bent.
    That sounds like lead poisoning allright

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    Quote Originally Posted by toxic avenger View Post
    I wonder if it is an avian-imported disease, could it be bird flu?
    I hope not but it can't be ruled out yet, especially if migratory ducks and/or other birds have moved into the area. If fish are also dying then I'd think it points more to pollutants in the water. Hopefully the tests on the dead birds and water won't take long.
    We all love animals. Why do we call some 'pets' and others 'dinner'?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MsAnneThrope View Post
    I hope not but it can't be ruled out yet, especially if migratory ducks and/or other birds have moved into the area. If fish are also dying then I'd think it points more to pollutants in the water. Hopefully the tests on the dead birds and water won't take long.
    The Echo quotes someone as saying that there are fish also affected, but there is apparently no resultant ban on angling, there are kids fishing there now. It's possible that, if they are, it's unrelated (the hot dry weather and lack of oxygen in the water can affect them). It is apparently sixty swans or so dead, there are few left, I can see one out my window now with her young cygnet and a handful of others further over but I haven't seen the two black swans for some time and there are only a fraction of the number of mute swans that are normally there. I can't work out if it is just swans dying or whether other wildfowl (geese, ducks, moorhens, etc.) are dying too. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see...

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    Irish Times covering it now too:




    About 50 swans are believed to have died at The Lough in Cork city over recent days, with ducks and fish also dying, prompting fears over pollution, deliberate sabotage or a virus epidemic having taken grip at the public amenity and tourist magnet.
    .
    .
    .
    A Cork City Council spokesman stressed that City Hall was actively engaged in seeking a solution. He said tissue samples had been sent to the Department of Agriculture for testing, and that results were expected within the next day or so.
    I'd lean more towards a pollutant myself and not bird flu, but as you say we'll just have to wait and see. I'm very disappointed Birdwatch Ireland isn't covering this, as it's been going on since early June apparently. Not a mention on their site and their Cork branch aren't covering it either.

    Keep us posted please TA if you hear anything solid locally.
    We all love animals. Why do we call some 'pets' and others 'dinner'?

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    I'll try and find out. From what I can get it is not just the swans, it is birds of all sorts, and apparently fish too, which would suggest pollutants/sabotage, perhaps lead? It remains possible that the fish are a separate case for the reason I gave before, the hot dry weather.

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