Efforts Intensified to Aid Birds Suffering from Avian Botulism at California’s Tulare Lake.


The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is collaborating with various partners, including the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN), to provide emergency veterinary care for affected birds. Avian botulism, caused by naturally occurring toxin-producing bacteria in bodies of water, poses a threat to the birds flocking to the recently revived Tulare Lake.

CDFW teams conduct daily patrols using airboats to collect affected and deceased birds. The number of birds collected has steadily risen, with over 1,600 birds gathered since early August, including 530 in the past week.

Tests have revealed only low pathogenic avian flu viruses in three birds but no highly pathogenic avian flu.

Avian botulism type C was confirmed in five of eight birds tested.

The wildlife care network has set up a temporary facility at Kern National Wildlife Refuge, employing the help of UC Davis veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators to provide care.
Those in the Tulare Lake Basin are encouraged to report wildlife mortality to the CDFW to monitor the situation.

It’s important to note that avian botulism type C outbreaks in wild birds are not linked to human botulism, and an information sheet with FAQs is available on CDFW’s website.