Photographer is disgusted by sad discovery at infamous fishing spot in Australia

A wildlife photographer has discovered at least 30 dead pelicans floating on one of Australia’s most famous lakes. Images shared with Yahoo by Geoffrey Looney highlight the carnage across Lake Menindee, which was once a paradise for bird watchers and fishermen alike.

Sadly, this is not the first environmental disaster the far western NSW outpost has suffered. Last year, Menindee town waters made international headlines when the Darling River became choked with 30 million dead fish, which suffocated after oxygen levels plummeted during a heatwave. This week it’s the Lake Menindee Inlet Regulator making the news over water quality concerns.

Speaking to Yahoo yesterday afternoon, Looney described his time at his beloved Lake Menindee as “disturbing”, saying he would worry about anyone fishing or going into the water there.

“I was photographing live birds and I noticed one was dead, so I started looking. I walked along the right side and I must have seen thirty dead pelicans there, and on the other side there were more,” he continued.

“I was quite outraged.”

A live pelican in Lake Menindee in NSW. A live pelican in Lake Menindee in NSW.

Although there were still healthy pelicans on the lake, some appeared unwell and were unable to fly away. Source: Geoffrey Looney

Yahoo News contacted the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to determine the cause of death.

Last night it said samples of water, water and dead birds were being collected by officers. “Water samples are tested for a range of potential contaminants, including pesticides and blue-green algae,” the company said in a statement.

Experience shows that another possibility is botulism, a type of bacteria that regularly kills birds in Australia. Last year it was suspected of causing deaths in at least three states.

While many of the pelicans were already dead, others were slowly dying. Some reportedly struggled to stay afloat – symptoms consistent with botulism. With no one on site to help the dying birds, Looney fears things will get worse.

“Even the live ones were just sitting there. Normally you walk up to a bird and it flies away. But the first one I walked up to to swim away couldn’t fly, and the second one just sat there,” he says. said.

While he is still waiting for more information on the mass pelican killing, he suspects it could be linked to the release of blackwater by NSW authorities into Copi Hollow and the connecting channel to Lake Menindee.

More to come.

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