At Least 20 Ducks Killed By Algae In Boston Public Garden Pond

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Nearly two dozen ducks have died after becoming sick from a bacteria believed to have developed in Boston's Public Garden lagoon.

According to a spokesperson from the MSPCA-Angell in Jamaica Plain, since Sunday August 16, good Samaritans and park rangers have brought in about 20 wild mallard ducks suffering from paralysis and severe respiratory issues.

"Sadly, none of the ducks could be successfully treated, and they have since been humanely euthanized," said the MSPCA.

While investigations into blood samples and necropsies are still in progress, MSPCA-Angell said the information to date suggests that the birds may be suffering from botulism.

Botulism is caused by a neurotoxin produced by a bacterium known as Clostridium botulinum, which can grow in stagnant pools of water during periods of intense prolonged heat, such as the period Boston has recently endured.

"The organic material being removed from the pond as well as the bodies of sick or dead ducks may harbor the botulinum toxin," said the MSPCA. "Pet owners are advised to prevent interaction of their pet with sick or deceased ducks or sludge from the pond."

Dr. Ewing, a Pathologist at Angell, has been in communication with state animal health officials and wildlife biologists to determine what may be done to prevent additional infections.

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department said it begun the process of draining and cleaning the pond in the public garden on Wednesday, to remove organic material and bacteria, before refilling the pond with fresh water. The PRD said it will take 2-3 days for the lagoon to fully drain.

"What’s more, the Swan Boats are on hold this year," said a spokesperson for the PRD. "Their paddle wheels introduce oxygen into the lagoon and create turbulence that discourages unwanted growth. We engaged a lake and pond management company to treat the lagoon throughout the month of July. When we saw little improvement after weeks of testing and treatment, we made the decision to fully drain the lagoon, remove sediment at the bottom, and refill it. The condition of the lagoon poses no threat to humans."

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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