Around 100 geese have died or fallen sick in Iowa with mysterious symptoms, including the inability to fly and seizures lasting for hours.
Cedar Rapids-based news outlet KCRG-TV9 reported that it had received calls and messages over the weekend from local residents who had come across a large number of dead and severely ill geese on or around the Iowa River in Coralville, as well as the surrounding areas.
Two Iowans, Jessica Darby and Brandon Caswell, told KCRG-TV9 that some of the symptoms the birds were displaying included an inability to fly and seizures, some of which were lasting for several hours.
“If you look out for even a couple of minutes, you’ll see several of them having seizures. In the water, some of them will go underneath the ice and they can’t get back out from underneath the ice. They’ll just spin,” Darby told KCRG-TV9.
The pair gathered 12 of the sick geese and met with volunteers from Des Moines-based non-profit Iowa Bird Rehabilitation (IBR)—who took a total 43 of the birds into their care over the weekend.
“Yesterday we thought we were getting five, maybe 10 more sick geese—in addition to the 12 from the day before,” IBR wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “By the end of the day we got 31 more! That adds up to 43 sick geese in our care.
“Our volunteers have been amazing, driving all the way to Iowa City and spending the day rescuing as many as they could. A group of Iowa City residents have also been amazing, out there every day for the past few days, in the cold, saving as many lives as they can.”
The charity subsequently reported yesterday that one of the 43 geese had died. In total, more than 50 geese have died, according to KCRG-TV9.
Jenni Boonjakuakul, founder and CEO of IBR, told KCRG-TV9 that the strange symptoms appeared to be the result of severe neurological issues. But exactly what is causing them remains unclear.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is investigating reports of sick and dead fees in and around the Coralville area.
Iowa DNR Waterfowl Biologist, Orrin Jones, told KCRG-TV9 on Monday that samples from one dead goose and duck have sent to a lab for evaluation, in order to determine whether or not the birds have contracted an infectious disease.
Rachel Ruden, the DNR’s state wildlife veterinarian urged people to take precautions when near sick or dead birds.
“We appreciate the local outpouring of support, but I would urge the public to use caution around sick or dead wildlife as the cause of this event is yet unknown,” Ruden told KCRG-TV9.
Newsweek has contacted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for comment.
Originally published at https://www.newsweek.com/100-geese-dead-sick-iowa-mysterious-symptoms-1571060 on .