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Birds die after killer outbreak; Hundreds of dead swans, geese and ducks in parks.

Byline: ROB PATTINSON ECHO Reporter rpattinson83 @

AN outbreak of a killer disease sparked by the recent hot weather is being blamed for the death of dozens of birds at parks across Merseyside.

The RSPCA has removed bodies of swans, Canada geese, coots and ducks from Newsham Park, Stanley Park and Walton Hall Park in Liverpool and Birkenhead Park, Wirral. It comes as rumours spread around social media that birds had been poisoned after being found by concerned members of the public.

But the suspected killer is actually a paralytic and often fatal disease called avian botulism, caused by swallowing a toxin produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria.

More than 130 birds have been found dead, with areas of Cheshire, Manchester and some parts of the Midlands also affected, with a further 52 put down by the animal charity as they were so ill.

The RSPCA said there was no real risk to humans but dog walkers are being advised to keep pets away from the dead bodies and from water as a precaution. In Birkenhead Park, the disease is thought to have killed more than 50 birds, including a family of two adult swans and their seven cygnets.

Cllr Chris Meaden, Wirral council cabinet member for leisure, said: "We are confident that the lakes will re-stock naturally, but the loss of these birds has been very keenly felt by the staff and people who use the park."


A sign warning | |about the outbreak in Birkenhead Park

Swans are among the birds affected by avian botulism |

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 1, 2014
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