More dead ducks found at Wigan beauty spot spark concern

A dead duck spotted at Orrell Water Park
A dead duck spotted at Orrell Water Park

Alarm over the mysterious death of birds at a popular Wigan beauty spot is rising after more ducks were spotted lifeless at the site.

Investigations are currently under way after visitors to Orrell Water Park spotted dead animals in the water and on the banks on several occasions over the past few weeks.

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The incident has clearly not been solved after Darren Fitzjohn went for a walk at the green haven on Monday and found around 10 dead adult ducks.

He is now extremely concerned that the cause of the spate of animal fatalities has not yet been identified and is worried there are a lack of information boards around the location warning visitors to take care.

Mr Fitzjohn said: “This has been going on for months. There is clearly something not right and yet there are no signs up to tell pet owners of this problem.

“There were kids washing their hands in the water. There was also a man picking them all up. He told me he had picked up 20 dead birds in one day.

“It’s only a matter of time before a dog dies or all the fish are killed. Something needs to be done about this.”

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was informed about the mysterious deaths after it was reported by concerned resident Peter Alker following a morning walk in which his pet dog retrieved eight lifeless ducks.

A preliminary report from the Animal and Plant Health Agency on six mallards retrieved from the Lodge Road site found there was no food in any of the birds’ gizzards, ruling out initial fears that they had been poisoned.

Tests have also been done for a range of avian influenza related viruses and the West Nile virus.

It is now understood that avian flu has been ruled out as a cause of death.

The agency’s report suggested avian botulism may be responsible for killing the birds due to the lack of lesions on the bodies.

Dog walkers are being urged to keep their canines away from the bodies as Clostridium botulinum type C can be life-threatening in very rare cases.

The full report from Defra is yet to be released.