LAKE FOREST, Calif. (KTLA) -- Dozens of dead mallard ducks are turning up in ponds and lakes in Orange County and officials are asking residents to stop feeding the birds.
More than 30 of the ducks have been found in and around the Village Pond Park and the Forest Gardens Mobile Home Park in Lake Forest.
Wildlife experts say that even though it seems innocent, feeding the ducks is harmful to the animals. It creates pollution, poor nutrition, overcrowding and disease, experts say.
The hot weather and high amounts of algae in the water are contributing to the growth of botulism and experts believe that may also be a factor is the alarming number of deaths.
Officials from the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center, a nonprofit organization in Huntington Beach, says they are taking care of a a couple dozen ducks that have been brought to the center . All of them seem to be exhibiting symptoms of botulism poisoning, according to Debbie McGuire, the wildlife director at the center.
The birds are definitely under the influence of a toxin and are being treated as fast as they are coming in she tells the Orange County Register. Most have healthy, plump bodies but are becoming paralyzed, she said.
McGuire said bread and grains thrown into the lakes in Lake Forest provide nutrients for botulism to grow. Botulism arises when the weather is warm and something is depleting the lakes of oxygen.
So far, it appears that only the mallard ducks have been affected, according to McGuire. The problem could spread to fish and then to sea gulls and other birds.
If you want to donate to the Wetlands and Wildlife Center or donate your services as a volunteer, you can call them at (714) 374-5587,
Ducks Dying at Lakes, Ponds in Orange County
At least 30 mallard ducks have been found dead in Lake Forest
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