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Mysterious wildlife deaths raise questions in Colorado

Dead ducks

(NaturalNews) Wildlife is mysteriously dying at a park in Colorado where residents go to unwind, enjoy nature and play some disc golf. Numerous ducks have been found dead at Exposition Park in Aurora, Colorado. Pictures show dead ducks lying on their sides with no obvious physical wounds, appearing as if they just died suddenly.

Wildlife conservationist Anthony Ross says the area smells like sewage, and is concerned for local residents and families who take their children to the park to play.

"To be honest, it smells like straight sewage," said Ross, who lives in the area. "Wildlife is dying. There's something going on in there."

Ducks are mysteriously dying at Aurora park

The pond in the park serves as a retention pool for storm water, and is polluted with trash and dead animals, according to reporting by CBS Denver. The city told local news outlets it tests the water in the pond periodically.

When exactly the water was last testing remains unclear. However, a spokesperson for Aurora Water has said that they aren't aware of any increase in toxins that may be responsible for killing the ducks.

"We have not seen any increase in any contaminants in the water that would be a concern to that point," said Greg Baker, from Aurora Water.

Ross, who photographed the dead ducks, said he's seen five dead ducks so far. When CBS4's Melissa Garcia and photojournalist Mark Neitro visited the scene, they reportedly found three dead ducks.

"The community should have a safe and clean place to bring their families," said Ross. "I don't want my kids running through that. It doesn't seem too healthy," he added. "I got some splashed on my skin, and it started burning."

Polluted storm water retention pond may be killing wildlife

The city says the storm water retention pond is necessary to prevent nearby homes from flooding. In 2013, the pond successfully captured runoff caused by heavy rains.

"The intention behind that is, the water has to go someplace in an urban environment. It's better it come here where we can control it than into the houses that are frankly just on the border of this park," said Baker.

A man who plays disc golf at Exposition Park regularly defended the city, saying it's difficult to keep trash out of it.
"I think (the city) has good intentions. Unfortunately, I don't think there's much they can do in the way of street-side trash in the drainage, the way it's set up," said resident Chad Huartson.

Officials with the city say they will be looking into the issue and hope to determine what is killing the ducks.

Often times when birds start dying, it's caused by a misapplication of chemicals such as pesticides or herbicides, but disease may also be to blame.

"It was unknown if the cause could be a disease spread from one bird to another, or something else that was making the birds sick," reported CBS Denver.

West Nile virus reportedly killed flocks of birds in a Denver neighborhood in September 2012.




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