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Pullen Park Paddleboats Docked As Authorities Probe Ducks' Deaths

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Authorities are looking for the cause of death for several ducks that have died in Pullen Park in recent days.

A dozen ducks that swim in the park's lake have died, said city officials. The symptoms observed in the birds are consistant with a bacterial infection such as botulism, but initial tests have not confirmed that to be the cause of death. Further testing of the ducks is underway. Offials said the possible bacteria could have come from anything from moldy bread someone feed the ducks to something in the water.

None of the other animals in the park, including geese, have shown signs of sickness, said Richard Costello, the city parks director.

The lab has ruled out bird flu or any virus that could be transmitted to humans, he said. Tissue and blood samples from the dead birds have been sent to a lab in Pennsylvania for further testing, he said.

The Pullen Park paddleboat concession has been closed as a precaution until the Wake County Health Department can check the preliminary test results, Costello said.

City officials said there was a similar outbreak at the park in the early 1990s.

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