On 13 February 2019, a resident of Rondevlei via a local newspaper reported a number of bird deaths in the Rondevlei area in close proximity to Divisional Road 1614. The resident alluded to the possibility of the herbicide used by the Garden Route District Municipality: Roads and Transport Planning along the road reserve for Divisional Road 1614 being the cause of the aforesaid bird deaths. Lab tests have indicated otherwise.
On 15 February 2019, SANPARKS informed the GRDM that the bird deaths were caused by a disease known as avian botulism.
Avian botulism is a neuromuscular illness of birds caused by a toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Fish-eating birds are poisoned by eating fish that contain the toxin.
Ingestion of maggots from the carcass of an infected animal can continue the spread of avian botulism. Avian botulism is most prevalent during summer months. The decease cannot be transmitted to humans, but as a precautionary measure SANPARK rangers collected the carcasses daily. The decease cannot be transmitted to humans, but as a precautionary measure SANPARK rangers collected the carcasses daily. SANPARKS also indicated that a statement will be released.
Various departments in the GRDM responded promptly to establish the cause of the bird deaths, and to determine whether the GRDM held any liability therein. Although we could establish that the deaths were not caused by herbicides used by the GRDM: Roads and Transport Planning Services, we will endeavour to exercise caution in the selection of the herbicides that are used for road reserve management and the effect that it may have on the receiving environment.