Indiana Lake Should Be Avoided After Dead Geese, Ducks Reportedly Found: Officials

Indiana officials reportedly warned people to avoid a Hammond lake as an investigation continues into reports of dead geese and ducks found in the area this week.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management said Thursday that the public should stay away from Wolf Lake until its investigation has concluded and officials discover a cause of death, the Northwest Indiana Times reported.

Indiana officials launched the investigation in the area after dozens of waterfowl were found dead in the northern portion of Hammond's Wolf Lake.

Dead fish have also been reported in Wolf Lake, the NWI Times reports.

Reports of the dead animals in the area began arriving at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in mid-February, DNR Director of Communications James Brindle told the newspaper.

Officials have not reported how many waterfowl have been found dead in or around the lake in total, but said dozens have been identified.

Labs at the U.S.G.S. National Wildlife Health Center have been performing tests on the remains to find a cause of death, according to investigators. Officials did not say when results would be returned.

No other areas in northwest Indiana have been shown to produce similar reports, according to officials.

Indiana officials said that though the area around Wolf Lake includes industrial areas, natural causes could also be a possibly for the strain of deaths.

According to the DNR, avian cholera was confirmed Tuesday among geese in southwest Indiana, which is "highly contagious" among wild birds, particularly waterfowl. The disease is not related to avian influenza, however.

"Avian cholera is not expected to have a significant effect on overall waterfowl populations but could result in dead geese being found in small areas," the DNR reported.

The DNR advised hunters to disinfect hunting gear and "thoroughly clean" the birds they harvest. Animals suspected to have been ill should not be consumed, the agency warned.

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