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For Release: Thursday, October 12, 2017

DEC Determines Dead Geese in Malone Afflicted with Aspergillosis

Canada Geese Contracted Fungal Disease Caused by Ingesting Moldy Grain - Not Poor Water Quality

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that Aspergillosis caused the death of three dozen Canada geese found in Rotary Pond at the Malone Recreation Park in the village of Malone in Franklin County.

Aspergillosis is a fungal disease specific to waterfowl that is caused by ingesting moldy grain or bread. The cause of death was not due to the water quality of the pond.

DEC Wildlife staff and village of Malone staff worked together to respond to reports from concerned citizens and remove the carcasses of the dead geese. The dead geese were sent to DEC 's Wildlife Health Unit at the Wildlife Resources Center in Delmar, New York, for testing.

DEC pathologists determined the geese were infected with Aspergillosis, a fungus that grows in the birds' lungs and air sacs causing respiratory distress and, eventually, suffocation. Aspergillosis is transmitted to waterfowl by the ingestion of moldy grain, such as bread or livestock feed, or agricultural waste. It has been known to cause large-scale mortality events in waterfowl. Aspergillosis is not contagious and does not present a health risk to humans.

DEC is asking the public not to feed ducks, geese, and other waterfowl to help prevent this disease and other negative impacts on waterfowl populations. Feeding waterfowl causes poor nutrition, overcrowding, unnatural behavior, delayed migration, and facilitates the spread of diseases that may result in death.

DEC is asking farmers to keep grain piles covered and to dispose of moldy grain, silage, straw or hay by burial and not by spreading over land. Ducks and geese must be discouraged from using areas where moldy agricultural products have accumulated.

If the public insists on feeding waterfowl despite the negative impacts, DEC asks that the following steps be taken to prevent the spread of Aspergillosis:

  • Only provide enough food to be consumed in less than one day;
  • Remove all food and food remnants from the feeding area at the end of each day;
  • Check the food and remove any moldy food items;
  • Periodically clean and disinfect the feeding station; and
  • NEVER feed moldy bread to any birds - throw it out!

Please report diseased or dead waterfowl to your nearest Department of Environmental Conservation Wildlife Office. The phone number of the nearest DEC Wildlife Office may be obtained from the DEC website.

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