Ducks Die at Surrey Beauty Spot
Visitors to Worth Park Lake near Crawley will be used to seeing and feeding the many ducks there. However, they will now notice that that the ducks have disappeared. Recently, more than 50 ducks and geese were found dead at the lake in an unfortunate wildlife disaster.
Rescuers worked hard to save the birds but dozens perished. Further birds have been taken to a swan sanctuary at Shepperton. The deceased birds had not been killed by heartless people. They had almost certainly been poisoned by botulinum toxins which develop in the silt which is in the lake water.
Unfolding Avian Tragedy
Local people helped remove the dead bodies and it was a stressful time for both the people and the remaining birds. The unfolding tragedy initially became apparent when a woman walking at the lake spotted a sickly coot. Sadly, the bird had died by the time volunteers hoping to rescue it had arrived. But the volunteers were able to remove two mallards at this time and these birds were cared for and survived their ordeal. But in the succeeding 10 days, body after body was removed from the lake.
Few Birds Remaining
There are now a mere handful of birds left at the lake and the volunteers involved in the rescue mission are asking Crawley Borough Council to de-silt the lake in order to avoid a similar issue in the future. When water temperatures rise during the summer months, algae blooms can develop and these result in a rise in the bacteria which create the toxins in the silt.
Public Warned to Stay Out of the Water
Warning notices about the condition of the water have been posted around Worth Park Lake which is shallow and so prone to algae blooms. The toxins also pose a threat to people and pets. Crawley Borough Council have expressed their concern about the deaths of the birds.
A change in the weather has since alleviated the level of toxins. Heavy rain has diluted the level of bacteria in the water. But visitors to the lake should not allow children to play in the water and pets should not enter the water or be allowed to drink it. The public are also being requested not to feed the birds for the time being as uneaten food in the water could encourage further bacteria to form.