BOSTON (CBS) – The Parks and Recreation Department determined the Boston Public Garden lagoon is “unsafe for wildlife” and will be drained, then refilled over the upcoming days. The Angell Animal Medical Center said 20 wild mallard ducks from the lagoon have died since Sunday.
The ducks were taken to the animal hospital by good Samaritans and park rangers. Pathologists believe the birds may have contracted botulism.
“The birds were suffering from paralysis and severe respiratory issues,” an Angell spokesman said. “Sadly, none of the ducks could be successfully treated, and they have since been humanely euthanized.”
Residents complained that the water was full of algae and trash during recent months. The company that runs the Swan Boats is responsible for testing and treating the water, but they are not operating this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A Parks and Recreation spokesman said Wednesday the city is in the middle of a 2-day process of draining the lagoon. Within about eight days, the lagoon will be cleaned and filled.
“Boston Parks and Recreation Department began draining the Public Garden Lagoon today because the water has become unsafe for wildlife, particularly the ducks,” the department said.
Also contributing to conditions has been the hot and dry summer, which led to bacteria and algae growth. In addition, the Swan Boats normally prevent unwanted growths using their paddle wheels.
“We engaged a lake and pond management company to treat the lagoon throughout the month of July,” the city said. “When we saw little improvement after weeks of testing and treatment, we made the decision to fully drain the lagoon, remove sediment from the bottom, and refill it. The condition of the lagoon poses no threat to humans.”