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Birds: Avian Cholera


Last updated 2/15/2019 at 3:26pm

More than 1,000 birds were found dead at the Salton Sea, caused by an outbreak of avian cholera, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Some of the bird carcasses collected by wildlife officials from Jan. 8 to Jan. 17, include northern shovelers, ruddy ducks, gulls, and blacked-necked stilts.

Frank Ruiz, Salton Sea Program Director, said that the outbreak was caused by bacteria spread among bird flocks with the disease also affecting mice and rabbits, but no other mammals. Officials said there is no public health risk for humans related to the mass death of the birds.

Comite Civico del Valle, an environmental justice group, say despite no health risk for humans, they are not sure of it being entirely safe for people to be near the south end of the Salton Sea.

Ruiz said it is also very important to control the outbreak for the species safety.

“The colonies are declining in numbers with certain species declining up to 95 percent because of many factors,” he said. “One of them is that there aren’t that many food sources available to them. Salinity is increasingly killing a lot of the fish that live there.”

Health officials are still gathering more information regarding this incident, and wildlife officials urge to report any dead birds they find.