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Agencies investigating duck deaths at Four Freedoms Park

By Staff | Aug 10, 2010

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking the public for information regarding the suspected poisoning of muscovy ducks at Four Freedoms Park.
FWCC spokesman Gary Morse said the agency and Sanibel-based CROW — the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife — are still investigating the situation as of Tuesday, but have not made any conclusions.
They’re hoping someone, a witness maybe, might be able to shed some light on whether or not these animals are being poisoned.
“We don’t know if they’re being poisoned on private property or public space,” Morse said. “We need to find out where it’s occurring and why, and that’s often difficult.”
Morse also said that neither the FWCC nor CROW have determined if the poisonings were, in fact, intentional.
“We don’t know anything at this point, other than to say (CROW Vet) Dr. McNamara suspects poisoning,” Morse added. “We’re concerned that if poison is being placed where wildlife can access it, that’s illegal.”
Morse could not verify that ducks were found with darts in various parts of their bodies.
City spokeswoman Connie Barron said a duck was found a “few months” ago with a dart in it, but could not verify if it was found at Four Freedoms Park, or if it was associated with this recent slate of ailing fowl.
Barron also said she did not know if darts were involved in these most recent investigations.
If darts were involved, Morse said, the matter would become an animal cruelty issues and the city would then take over the investigation.
For now, the FWCC and CROW will continue their investigation and hope the public will be able to provide some additional information.
“The more information we have the better,” Morse added. “But right now we have no information to tell us this was intentional. It could very well be incidental to something else, but we just don’t know.”
Morse is encouraging anyone with further information to contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s wildlife alert hotline at 1-888-404-3922.