Saturday, September 25, 2010

What is making swans sick?

LAKELAND - Dr. Geoffrey Gardner, a Lakeland swan expert, is facing the challenge of a lifetime. Something is killing the seabirds and swans on Long Boat Key, and he has to find out what it is.

"Our concern is that it may be coming from toxins in the waters, something coming from the dispersants that might have been used for the Gulf oil spill," Gardner told FOX 13 on Thursday.

The birds started getting sick and dying two months after the spill. Gardner is wondering if seabirds may have come in contact with a chemical in the Gulf, then migrated here.

He has alternative hypothesis as well, which is a bit more ominous: could toxins from the spill be showing up in our area?

Either way, wildlife rehabbers who discovered the problem are concerned because they have been seeing an alarming number of gulls and terns die lately.

"When you have 65 birds die in less than six weeks, you have a problem," said Lee Fox, the founder of Save our Seabirds in Sarasota.


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