Tests on Dead Pelicans Continue, St. Pete Says
Thus far, tests have been inconclusive in discovering a reason for the death of pelicans earlier this month in Pinellas waterways.
ST. PETERSBURG – Scientists continue looking into the January illness and death of Pinellas County brown pelicans following initial inconclusive test results.
A report released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission indicates more testing is needed to determine the cause of death of the 70 brown and one white pelicans that were found last month in Pinellas County waters.
Since Jan. 11, St. Petersburg Water Resources workers have collected water samples – with results showing water quality within acceptable ranges for recreational use. Also, independent biologists from Arcadis, brought in to investigate the water quality and to provide more in-depth testing, as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are continuing to search for the reason the pelicans became sick and died. To date, no definitive source has been identified, although tests for avian influenza and arboviruses, have been negative. Other diagnostic tests, including those for avian botulism, are still pending.
Here are some findings from the FWC Pelican Mortality Update:
- Since January 11, 2017, FWC has received 35 reports about dead or ill pelicans across southern Pinellas County, including eight requests for information. Initial reports were received from Gulfport and Pass-AGrille. FWC staff investigated subsequent reports from Riviera Bay Lake #1, Coffee Pot Bayou, and Bayou Grande and observed dead and sick pelicans.
- To date, FWC has confirmed reports of at least 70 dead or ill brown pelicans and at least one white pelican.
- At least 24 birds have been successfully treated in local wildlife rehabilitation centers and have been released or are ready to be released.
- FWC and partners have collected 23 pelicans for necropsy, although some are not useful due to the state of decomposition.
- Gross necropsies did not yield any remarkable findings. All birds were in good nutritional condition. Tests for avian influenza in 13 birds and arboviruses in 4 birds have been negative. Other diagnostic tests (i.e. avian botulism) are still pending.
- Low levels of brevetoxin (the red tide toxin) were detected in the gastrointestinal contents of some of the pelicans, demonstrating some exposure, however tissue samples were negative for the toxin. Testing is still in progress, and the results to date are inconclusive. Given the low levels measured and the lack of any other affected species, the deaths may not be related to red tide.
Residents who find sick or dead birds or other wildlife are encouraged to make an online bird mortality report or to call FWC’s Fish Kill Hotline at 1-800-636-0511.
To read the entire FWC Pelican Mortality Update, go to stpete.org.
Map Shows Locations of sick or dead pelicans reported between Jan. 11 and Jan. 30. Taken From the FWC Pelican Mortality Report Update, Courtesy of the FWC.
St. Petersburg | Dead Pelicans | FWC | Pelican Mortality Report | Environment | TB Reporter
#StPetersburg #DeadPelicans #FWC #PelicanMortalityReport #Environment #TBReporter