DNR probes NW Indiana lake deaths of numerous ducks, geese

HAMMOND, Ind. — Indiana’s wildlife and environmental agencies are investigating the deaths of numerous ducks, geese and other waterfowl recently found dead around a northwestern Indiana lake.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources began receiving reports in mid-February of dead or dying waterfowl around the northern portion of Wolf Lake in Hammond, said James Brindle, the DNR’s director of communications.

The agency has received calls as recently as Wednesday about dead Canada geese, mallards, coots and other waterfowl at the lake, said Lt. Shawn D. Brown, of DNR Law Enforcement.

The birds’ deaths are being investigated by the DNR’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management with help from a federal laboratory, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

Officials were unable to say how many dead waterfowl have been found at the lake, but Hammond resident Leo Mores said he found more than 20 dead geese there Monday.

“It’s really sad,” he said. “I saw a couple today that looked half dead.”

A lab at the U.S.G.S. National Wildlife Health Center is performing tests to determine if the dead birds suffered any diseases or if chemicals are present in their remains. Brindle said it’s unknown when those results will be received.

Although the lake’s northern area does have industrial sites, officials said natural causes are also a possibility.

The DNR announced Tuesday that avian cholera had been confirmed among geese in southwestern Indiana’s Gibson County, where 176 snow geese have been found dead since early January.