Contaminated Sardines Caused Pelicans’ Death

February 23, 2007

The food chain took a turn for the fatal in a recent case of 500 brown pelicans found dead on an islet in the Pacific Gulf of Nicoya.

Scientists have discovered that these birds ate sardines contaminated with toxic algae, the daily La Nación reported.

The sardines consumed algae called Diatomea, which appears in Pacific waters and can kill pelicans but is not dangerous to humans, according to Public Health Minister María Luisa Avila.

“Fortunately, this is not an infectious disease,” Avila told the daily, citing reports from scientists at Universidad Nacional (UNA) in Heredia, north of San José, who had been researching the pelicans’ death.

The dead birds were found by Costa Rican Coast Guard officials and taken to the university laboratory Feb. 9 (TT, Feb. 16) Dead pelicans continued to be seen in Pacific waters near SanLucasIsland as baby birds whose mothers were killed by the toxic sardines are starving to death, according to La Nación. Their carcasses are being eaten by crocodiles and carnivorous birds.

 

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

The Tico Times Weekly Digest: Oct. 15, 2018
Tico Times Weekly Digest
510 views
Tico Times Weekly Digest
510 views

The Tico Times Weekly Digest: Oct. 15, 2018

The Tico Times - October 15, 2018

In this week's episode of the Weekly Digest, a wrap-up of last week's heavy rains, plus more news from around…

Guatemala Fuego eruption is over: officials
Guatemala
615 views
Guatemala
615 views

Guatemala Fuego eruption is over: officials

AFP - October 15, 2018

The most recent eruption of Guatemala's Fuego volcano ended Saturday, an official source said, with locals escaping a repeat of June's…

October in Costa Rica: when the Caribbean comes a’callin’
Pic of the Day
903 views
Pic of the Day
903 views

October in Costa Rica: when the Caribbean comes a’callin’

The Tico Times - October 15, 2018

Costa Rica's Caribbean coast is famously exempt from many of the typical weather patterns in the rest of the country.…