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Dept to probe birds’ death at Kamfers Dam

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Further tests and analysis will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death of 35 birds at Kamfers Dam.

Kamfers Dam. File image

THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Land Reform and Rural Development indicated further tests and analysis will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death of 35 birds at Kamfers Dam in Kimberley.

The death of the birds remains a mystery although it is believed the birds died due to avian botulism a serious neuromuscular illness of birds caused by toxins.

The department said laboratory analysis conducted on water samples from the dam indicated that no clostridium was present in the water samples.

Departmental spokesperson, Zandisile Luphahla said a further five birds have died bringing the total number of bird fatalities to 35.

“MEC Mase Manopole sent a team of scientists and veterinarians from the department to the dam, to determine what the cause of death could have been.

“With the assistance of the local mining company, Ekapa, the water and tissue samples were taken for laboratory analysis. So far only water analysis results were received. Further tissue samples will be collected and submitted for analysis to have a complete picture of what could have been the course of the mortalities. At this moment, it is suspected that the cause of death could be avian botulism. This week, five more water birds were found dead at the dam, which has brought the number of mortalities to 35,” said Luphahla.

Luphahla said the flamingos were not part of the fatalities reported.

“The dam is known as the home to the lesser flamingos, however, no reports have been received on the death of flamingos at this stage,” he said.

He urged residents not to consume or to remove the bird carcasses.

“Consuming meat from the bird carcasses might have detrimental health impacts.

“The public should also not handle the dead waterbird with their bare hands, allow their pets to eat dead waterbirds and also not harvest water birds that appear to be sick or dying.

“The department will continue to collect and incinerate the dead waterbirds to prevent and minimise waterbird mortalities.We will also continue to monitor the situation at Kamfers Dam,” said Luphahla.