Madison
75° F
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
Advertisement

Botulism tied to soaring loon deaths in Michigan

Published On: Aug 17 2013 09:35:02 AM CDT
DETROIT -

An increase in annual loon deaths from a strain of botulism is sounding alarms among Michigan wildlife officials.

The Detroit News reports that it's been common over the years for common loon deaths to hit the hundreds but the numbers reached several thousand in in 2010 and 2012. Experts say invasive species such as mussels and gobies, and algae called Cladophora may be factors.

Botulism thrives in the Great Lakes sediments that have low oxygen. That sediment is picked up by bottom-feeding invasive species. When larger fish and birds eat the infected fish and mussels, the botulism moves up the food chain to the loons.

Other migratory birds have been affected but loon deaths tend to gain the most attention because their haunting call is so popular.

Advertisement
  • Buddy Check 3

    Learn more about Buddy Check and sign up to get a reminder to perform a self-exam and remind your friends to do the same.

  • Cruiser

    Cruiser

    Your pet photos

    Email us a picture of you and your pet and we'll use it in out Pet Walk segment which airs every weekday morning at 6:40. Include your name, your pet's name and where you're from. Email to petwalk@wisctv.com.

  • Time for Kids - Explore the Outdoors

    Dean Clinic and WISC-TV3 are focusing on a year-long campaign to get kids off their electronics and into the outdoors.

Advertisement