WATERFORD (WXYZ) — After an investigation by the Department of Natural Resources, it was determined that several dead swans found in Waterford were not poisoned.
The DNR confirms that the swans died from a disease caused by a parasitic flatworm.
There was initial concern from residents who questioned if the swans were intentionally poisoned by ingesting antifreeze or another form of poison.
The mute swans were found earlier this year near Maceday Lake.
“Invasive species or not, we take the death of these waterfowl very seriously,” said Lt. Todd Szyska, DNR law enforcement supervisor in Detroit. “It’s not every day we come across groups of dead waterfowl, especially in residential areas.”
Conservation officers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources retrieved the bodies of eight swans and sent several of them for necropsies.
A necropsy is an examination that is done after an animal dies in an effort to determine the cause of death.
The results of the necropsies of three swans indicated that they died from a disease called Verminous Hemorrhagic Enteritis.
“We can’t say for certain what caused the deaths of the dozen swans that died this past winter at the same location,” said Thomas Cooley, DNR wildlife pathologist. “But with a previous history of this disease on the lake and open water that was available to swans to feed on snails, it is highly likely that those birds died as a result of an intestinal fluke infection.”