Disease and hot weather kills swans and geese in Harrow Lodge Park

PUBLISHED: 11:26 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:26 12 July 2018

Around 80 dead swans and geese have found in the lake at Harrow Lodge Park.

Around 80 dead swans and geese have found in the lake at Harrow Lodge Park.


More than 100 dead birds have so far been found at a park this week, as the hot weather causes a potent outbreak of botulism in a lake.

Around 80 dead swans and geese have found in the lake at Harrow Lodge Park.Around 80 dead swans and geese have found in the lake at Harrow Lodge Park.

Volunteers at Harrow Lodge park, Hornchurch, have been spending their time helping to clear up the bodies of swans and geese who have been killed by the disease.

Those that are taken ill have been taken to The Swan Sanctuary, a charity dedicated to the treatment of swans and waterfowl in Shepperton, for them to get better.

Some pigeons and blackbirds have also been affected according to volunteers.

Resident Dave Gold, 76, who lives by the park, says it is an upsetting sight to see.

“These poor birds are dying for no reason, the council isn’t doing enough to help them”, he said.

“It’s very sad to see this yet again and so many of them as well.

“It’s a disgrace that this continues to happen to our wildlife when we should be doing more to help especially during the hot weather.”

Botulism is a disease in lakes produced by botulinum bacterium.

It is caused when air temperatures rise and water and oxygen levels drop.

It also thrives in hot, dry weather.

Over the past few years, the Recorder has reported on numerous occasions the high number of birds that have been killed by the outbreak.

A Havering Council spokesman says the local authority has been increasing the air circulation in the lake following the lack of rainfall and high temperatures.

He said: “Botulism is a naturally occurring bacteria which thrives in high temperatures.

“Council staff are working hard to control the situation by making sure oxygen levels are maintained.

“We are using water pumps and we had already installed additional fountains and wind power pumps to try to reduce outbreaks.

“We are also addressing the problems with the amount of bread that is being left in the lake from people feeding birds.

“This increases the risk of bacteria and we ask people to use alternatives such as oats and other grains.”

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