PARMA, Idaho – More than 500 ducks and geese have died due to avian cholera near Parma, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

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The dead waterfowl were found dead and reported by a concerned citizen on private land on Feb. 9. Fish and Game was notified and staff collected the carcasses of around 500 to 600 birds.

Two Canada geese, six mallards and one red-tailed hawk were sent to the Fish and Game’s Wildlife Health Laboratory for further testing, and avian cholera has been confirmed as the culprit. The rest of the carcasses were buried to prevent ingestion by scavengers.

Avian cholera is the result of infection with the bacterium Pasteurella multocida. The bacterium kills swiftly – sometimes within 6 to 12 hours – and is released into the environment by dead or dying birds, or by birds carrying the disease. Consequently, dense concentrations of waterfowl can enhance disease transmission among healthy birds.

Fish and Game continues to monitor for any additional mortality events, and encourages the public to report any observations involving numerous dead waterfowl.

"Outbreaks of avian cholera have occurred annually in the area over the past decade," said Tyler Archibald, Fish and Game habitat biologist at Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area. “We’re actively looking for dead birds and will dispose of any we find.”

According to the National Wildlife Health Center, avian cholera is not considered a high risk disease for humans.

If the public observes numerous dead birds, they are asked to call and report the location to Fish and Game’s Nampa Regional Office at 208-465-8465.

 Source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game