The discovery of at least twenty dead waterfowl at East Okoboji Lake has the Department of Natural Resources setting an investigation in action. DNR regional wildlife supervisor Neil Heiser says they’re sending samples to a national disease lab in Madison, Wisconsin. He says it seems to be an acute poisoning of some kind and moved very fast among the younger birds, most likely a localized problem. The birds were stricken by something on Wednesday and by the end of the day nearly twenty of them, mostly young ones, had died. Geese like to graze on lawns, and it could be some lawn chemical that’d been applied, though till after there’s a necropsy — an animal autopsy — we’ll have to wait to see if the die-off was something natural or was caused by humans. Heiser says the Iowa Great Lakes region hasn’t had many disease die-offs among waterfowl. He says we’ve had small numbers of lead poisoning, from birds that eat shot pellets in the swamps, and some cases of West Nile virus as well as other diseases that are common in the state. The blood and other samples are being sent off today and Heiser says by the end of this week we may know more from the animal disease lab in Wisconsin that specializes in waterfowl studies.
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