Duck mortality in Lake Saint-Pierre

    QUEBEC CITY, Sept. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Environment Canada's Canadian
Wildlife Service is reporting the presence of dead or dying ducks in Lake
Saint-Pierre. Over the last few weeks, more than 100 dead ducks have been
found in the Anse-du-Fort area (between the Yamaska River and Baie-du-Febvre),
on the south shore of Lake Saint-Pierre.
    Consequently, Environment Canada is asking hunters to neither kill nor
eat ducks showing signs of illness, such as obvious weakness or abnormal
    An analysis by veterinarians at the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health
Centre at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Saint-Hyacinthe identifies
botulism as the main cause of death among the ducks collected in Anse-du-Fort.
    Botulism is an illness caused by a neurotoxin-producing bacterium.
Infected birds develop progressive paralysis and gradually lose control of
their muscles. Death by paralysis or drowning ensues. The type of botulism
that causes death in ducks does not affect humans. However, as a precautionary
measure, hunters are asked to not eat ducks that are sick or unable to fly.
    Botulism is not an atypical illness. Low water levels coupled with
higher-than-normal ambient temperatures promote an outbreak of these
incidents. Anse-du-Fort has had duck mortality events caused by botulism in
2001, 2005 and 2006.
    Migratory bird hunting season opens Saturday, September 22, in the
affected area. Hunters who notice an unusually high number of dead or sick
ducks are asked to call 1-800-463-3911 to report their sightings.

    (Egalement offert en français)

For further information:

For further information: Paul Milot, Environment Canada, (418) 649-8070

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