Botulism outbreak: Several dead ducks identified in Meadow Springs

There have been reports of a number of dead ducks at a lake in Meadow Springs, believed to be killed by a local botulism outbreak.

Botulism is one of the most common causes of death in birds like chickens, ducks, geese and guinea fowl. It can affect both free-range and caged birds as well as wild birds.

The deadly disease occurs when birds eat food or drink water containing the botulism toxin produced by a bacteria that is commonly found in soil and in rotting vegetation, food or carcasses.

It produces a very potent toxin that acts on the bird's nervous system, causing weakness, paralysis and sometimes death.

Western Australian Seabird Rescue announced the alert on their Facebook page on April 21.

"Meadow Springs (Mandurah) residents - this small lake has been identified as another probable botulism outbreak area with several dead ducks seen yesterday," they wrote.

The lake is within a park bordered by Glenelg Way, Pebble Beach Boulevard and Grandmere Parade in Meadow Springs.

The rescue group said botulism outbreaks happened every year "following the first autumn rains" when the birds have access to wet, decomposing feed.

"The heavy rains have re-flooded many wetlands and we are about to have a few warm days so botulism outbreaks could occur anywhere," the Facebook post read.

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Western Australian Seabird Rescue suggested residents who see any sick or dead birds call them on 6102 8464 "as soon as possible".

"Time is critical to outcomes with botulism," they wrote on Facebook.

"It's also critical to remove the dead birds from the water so other birds don't feed on their carcasses and become affected too."

The group recommended to keep dogs on a lead if they walk them within the vicinity of the affected park to ensure they don't pick up an infected carcass and asked residents not to throw bread or other food into the water as it will "exacerbate the issue".

For more information, follow the Western Australian Seabird Rescue group on Facebook.