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20-30 ducks have died at Liberty Park in past week

Liberty Park Ducks.png
Posted at 12:00 PM, Jul 14, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Crews are working to fix the aeration system at a pond in Liberty Park after 20-30 ducks have died over the past week.

The Salt Lake City Public Lands Department, along with the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources, began an investigation into the cause of the deaths earlier this week.

While a spokesperson with the city said it's common to see these kinds of deaths after the first warm-up in the city and after mating season, it's also possible they are connected to avian botulism.

On Friday, the city announced it would be fixing the aeration system in the pond, although they're not sure if the system issue is related to the duck deaths.

Over the years there have been instances where ducks have died en masse at Salt Lake City parks. In 2001, the Deseret News reported over 100 ducks died in Liberty Park due to botulism.

According to the Cornell University Wildlife Health Lab, botulism in ducks is transmitted through soil and seawater, and is common in late summer.

"Typical clinical signs in birds with botulism include weakness, lethargy, inability to hold up the head or to fly. For waterfowl, this can be catastrophic because inability to hold up the head leads to drowning," the United States Geological Survey said.