At the beginning of September, agents from the La Laguna Environmental Protection Unit located a score of dead birds in the El Manisero pond, in Tejina, a natural environment located in the Anaga Biosphere Reserve. At that time, work was started to clarify what happened and whether it was due to natural causes or human action, such as possible poisoning.
More than a month later, the total number of dead specimens has risen to more than 50, the last five being found last week, and the most probable cause that experts are working with is that it is due to an outbreak of avian botulism, for which would be natural causes. “Biologists tell us that it has all the earmarks of having been an outbreak of avian botulism,” said the Lagunero Councilor for the Environment, José Luis Hernández, so “it is practically ruled out that it is a poisoning,” he said.
“In principle, what they transfer from the center of La Tahonilla is that it gives the impression that the outbreak has subsided. Now we are evaluating working on a protocol in case another similar outbreak appears, knowing how to act, who to activate, how to collect the samples, where to take the specimens … to have all this protocolized ”, indicated the mayor.
In this line, Yarci Acosta, delegate of SEO / Birdlife in the Canary Islands, the custodian entity of this pond, which is private, through a custody agreement of the territory, added that “the diagnostic tests that allow confirming botulism are not carried out in the Canary Islands “, but” veterinarians indicate that everything fits with an outbreak of botulism “, so it would be a” natural episode “. These outbreaks occur in stagnant waters “when temperatures rise,” he said.
“The management of this type of outbreak consists initially of immediately removing the corpses to prevent the outbreak from spreading and it is monitored to see what its evolution is and we stop doing activities there until it is controlled. In very serious cases, it can be proposed to dry out, that would be in a very extreme situation to prevent the focus from spreading to other ponds, but the outbreak seems to be ending.
For this reason, such a radical measure has not been implemented ”, explained Yarci Acosta in this regard.
El Manisero is part of a larger set of ponds that extend between Tejina and Bajamar, which are home to a great wealth of birds.