Wednesday, 18 March 2015
At least 2,000 snow geese on their way to nesting grounds in Alaska have fallen dead from the sky, in what researchers believe to be the result of Avian Cholera.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game spokesman Gregg Losinski told Reuters that dozens of workers and volunteers for the agency were working around the clock and over the weekend, retrieving the corpses of the dead snow geese found near bodies of water and at a wildlife management area in the eastern part of the state.
“Basically, they just fell out of the sky,” he said.
Biologists are awaiting results from a state wildlife lab to confirm whether the birds did in fact die as a result of the communicable disease, caused by the bacteria Pastuerella Multocida, which can live in soil and water for months.
While it is unknown how the disease spreads, scientists suspect overcrowded bird populations, where close contact of individual birds allows for healthy birds to become sick quickly.
Scientists also know that birds are more susceptible to the illness in cold, damp winter months.
Among the mounting corpses of geese, 20 bald eagles were also found dead. It is unknown, however, whether the eagles were infected with the disease as well.
Losinski explained that humans face little risk from the disease, which is known to cause periodic epidemics like this one.
Categories: . Cholera