Rat bait by death lake

16:00, Mar 26 2014
Orewa Lake Rat Bait
DEADLY DISCOVERY: The green rat bait and bread found along Maygrove pond.
Orewa Lake Rat Bait
SAD STATE: This duck died on the grass verge.
Orewa Lake Rat Bait
BELLY UP: A large goldfish was found floating in the lake.
Orewa Lake Rat Bait
MORBID LAKE: A dead duck and dove near the edge of the Orewa lake.

Rat bait wrapped in bread may be responsible for the death of dozens of ducks around an Orewa pond.

Michelle Osborne and Maggie Al-Amar were walking along Lakeside Drive in Maygrove when they spotted "green mushy pieces of something" alongside bread left on the grass.

"We didn't know what it was so we scooped it up, brought it home and called the Auckland Council," Michelle says.

Orewa Lake Rat Bait
DUCK CONUNDRUM: Maggie Al-Amar and Michelle Osborne found several dead ducks at the Orewa lake, along with pieces of a rat poison wrapped in bread.

They took a council representative to where they found the substance and saw ducks pecking at what was left of it on the ground.

"We tried to pick up all the green stuff but couldn't get it all. It had a really strong smell," Michelle says.

They found seven dead ducks soon after and say there have been more since.

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"We were pretty upset. Ducks do die off, but there are a lot dying at the moment," Michelle says.

The council has confirmed the substance is rat bait.

"So far 24 dead ducks have been found around this pond. We are unsure whether their deaths were caused by poison or botulism. So far no dead ducks have been reported from other stormwater ponds in the Rodney area," a spokeswoman says.

The duck deaths have upset nearby residents who have watched them grow.

Robyn Morgan was walking around the pond and spotted a number of ducks dead on the water's edge.

"Tears were streaming down my face," she says. "Local residents watch them grow up from ducklings, it's been sad to see them in that state."

The Rodney Times found five dead ducks - some floating, a dead pigeon and a dead goldfish upside down in the lake. Three more ducks looked very sick.

One resident took a dead duck in to the Orewa Beach Vet Clinic but staff were unable to pinpoint the cause of death.

Six sick ducks have been rescued and are under the care of a Bird Rescue volunteer.

The problem is being investigated but it could also be deadly avian botulism which often surfaces at this time of year and has been reported in other parts of Auckland.

Rodney Times