Disease outbreak on Midway kills endangered ducks

ASSOCIATED PRESS – HAWAII NEWS

HONOLULU (AP) _ The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says 134 endangered Laysan ducks have been killed by an outbreak of avian botulism on Midway Atoll.

Botulism is an acute paralytic disease caused by a toxin produced by a widespread bacterium.

It’s different from a botulism type that normally occurs in humans. It’s not transferable to people.

Midway’s population of Laysan ducks has dropped to about 270 from 400 because of the outbreak.

The rest of the world’s Laysan ducks live on Laysan Island, south of Midway. They number about 600 and aren’t threatened by the outbreak.

Midway has been home to Laysan ducks since 2004 when wildlife biologists started transplanting 42 of the birds there to grow a new population.

The ducks used to be widespread across the Hawaiian Islands.

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