Pelican deaths investigated

FOUR pelicans have died in recent days at Lake Guyatt in Sale, with another in a serious condition and under veterinary care.

The cause of the deaths is being investigated by wildlife experts, with symptoms pointing to avian botulism.

Wellington Shire Council staff and wildlife management officers at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning are working together to manage the situation.

Avian botulism causes paralysis in birds feeding in areas with drying waterways.

This is a natural occurrence and can lead to death, depending on the amount of bacteria consumed.

Wellington Shire mayor Darren McCubbin said the disease posed no threat to humans, and encouraged people to report any dead birds and exercise good hygiene if handling them.

“Council staff will follow up reports of sick pelicans at Lakes Guyatt and Guthridge,” he said.

“They will continue to liaise with DELWP, local veterinarians, wildlife carers, and scientists at the Australian Wildlife Health Network’s surveillance program to ensure sick birds are cared for and the cause of this outbreak is thoroughly investigated.”

People who see distressed or dead pelicans in lakes Guthridge or Guyatt can phone council on 1300 366 244 or DELWP on 136 186.