2,000 geese reportedly die of avian cholera

Approximately 2,000 snow geese were found dead on March 17.

The geese were discovered in Mud Lake and Market Lake Wildlife Management Areas, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The department of Idaho Fish and Game is asking people to not touch the dead geese, even though humans are not at a high risk of contracting the avian cholera.

Gregg Losinski, a spokesman for the department, said they have not confirmed it was avian cholera that killed the birds.

Losinski said the department is assuming that it is avian cholera because of the symptoms the birds were showing.

Such symptoms include convulsions, swimming in circles and erratic flight, according to the United States Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center.

Avian cholera most commonly affects ducks, geese, coots, gulls and crows.Large die-offs, like the one in Mud Lake, are often in wild birds and affects the birds quickly, according to USGS National Wildlife Health Center.

Losinski said as soon as they knew what was happening at Mud Lake, he sent crews out to begin cleanup.

“Avian cholera is highly contagious to birds and can spread rapidly. It is a low-risk that humans are in danger of contracting the disease,” according to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center. Prompt action is necessary to prevent and minimize the spread of the disease. Careful carcass collection and disposal helps reduce the amount of bacteria in he environment,” according to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center.

Losinski said to minimize the spreadd of bacteria, the clean up crew put the birds into Hefty bags and burned them at the landfill.

Losinski said it is unknown where the birds may have picked up the disease.

He said the disease had to be somewhere south of Idaho in a warmer climate such as Mexico, Southern California or Arizona, since the birds were migrating north.

This bacteria is widespread in soil and requires warm temperatures, a protein source and an anaerobic environment, in order to become active and produce toxins, according to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center.

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