[Tweeters] Strange Mallard Deaths at Gog-le-hi-te Wetlands Tacoma

Kelly McAllister mcallisters4 at comcast.net
Fri Mar 9 22:23:46 PST 2018

When I was the District Wildlife Biologist for Thurston and Pierce Counties
I investigated a duck (I think it was mallard and wigeon) and turtle die-off
at Wapato Lake. The assumption, among the waterfowl biologists, was
Botulism. The turtles, though, were puzzling. At least, I don't remember
hearing anything about turtles being vulnerable to Botulism. I wondered
about toxic algal blooms and Wapato Lake seemed like it was a good
candidate, highly enriched with a variety of sources of nitrogen and
phosphorus. I remember the toxicology work on the turtles was not terribly
conclusive, poor body condition and protozoan infection. I don't remember if
the WSU poultry lab in Puyallup came back with anything useful on the
waterfowl. Somewhere I have a picture of the lineup of sliders I collected
for necropsy that day, five or six I think. It's not a pretty sight to walk
around a lake and see dead things all along the way. I think of these things
being a risk during the warm days of summer, not the waning days of winter.

Kelly McAllister

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