Eight mallard ducks discovered poisoned in West Auckland park

LAWRENCE SMITH/StuffNative hihi birds released into Shakespear Regional ParkEight mallard ducks have had to be put down after being discovered poisoned in a West Auckland park. Fish and Game Auckland Waikato described the recent discovery as “shocking” and is warning pet owners to be careful they do not eat poisoned birds. John Dyer, a Fish and Game officer, said it was concerned someone near the Verdale Circle area in Glen Eden had been careless or even reckless with a “stupefying substance” which had killed the ducks. Dyer discovered wheat, treated with a product called Alphachloralose, in the dead birds’ gizzards – the muscular stomach or ventriculus. READ MORE: * Kauri dieback: Waitākere Ranges locals fined for breaching track closures * Waitākere Ranges re-opening plan shows conflict between recreation and kauri protection * More than a dozen ducks dumped in Auckland stream at start of hunting season Alphachloralose puts birds in a stupor from which they would not normally recover. All eight of the mallard ducks had to be euthanised after being uplifted by the SPCA. Dyer warned if a pet cat or dog had eaten a poisoned bird, the result could have been fatal, unless the animal’s distress was detected quickly and taken to a vet.Taranaki-Daily-NewsThe eight mallard ducks were found poisoned in a West Auckland park before they were put down (file photo). He explained if a pet is thought to have ingested such treated wheat, the owner should immediately remove the animal (or bird) to a warm place, keep it warm, (but not hot), and call a vet without delay for further instructions. Using a poison to kill birds against the product’s label carries significant fines, precisely because of this potential for all manner of non-targeted species to be killed. Although alphachloralose is approved in some circumstances, there is an onus to use it responsibly or face serious legal consequences. Dyer suspected a pest-control contractor in a nearby industrial area may have inadvertently poisoned the ducks while perhaps targeting sparrow pests. He said care needs to be taken to ensure only smaller pest birds can access the bait, if they need to be controlled at all. The incident comes just one month after police were contacted over “threatening and abusive” messages being posted on a West Auckland community Facebook group over poisoned birds found in the Waitākere Ranges. The birds, including a myna, pukeko and sparrow, were likely to also have been poisoned with alphachloralose, which sends the affected animal into a state of hypothermia – or overheating. Anyone with information about the ducks’ deaths is encouraged to contact Fish and Game NZ and attention Dyer, or contact either the SPCA or Bird Rescue in Auckland.Stuff
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