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Iowa DNR investigating reports of sick and dead geese on Iowa River in Coralville

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating reports of sick and dead geese being discovered in the Iowa River in Coralville.
Published: Feb. 21, 2021 at 2:27 AM CST
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CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCRG) -The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is investigating reports of sick and dead geese accumulating near the dam of the Iowa River in Coralville and other nearby areas after local volunteers and a wildlife organization from Des Moines recently discovered over 50 dead geese and rescued approximately 50 geese that appeared to be ill.

On Saturday, KCRG-TV9 began receiving viewer calls and messages about a large number of dead and severely ill geese being discovered on or near the Iowa River in Coralville.

The Iowa DNR is investigating reports of sick and dead geese being discovered in the Iowa River...
The Iowa DNR is investigating reports of sick and dead geese being discovered in the Iowa River in Coralville.(Jessica Darby)

Jessica Darby, a West Branch resident, told KCRG-TV9 that, on Thursday, she and Brandon Caswell, a local resident, both discovered numerous sick and dead geese on the ice and surrounding areas near the dam in the Iowa River located next to Iowa Power River Restaurant.

According to Darby, their symptoms include the inability to fly and they appear to be suffering some kind of seizure, some for hours at a time.

On Friday, Darby and Caswell rounded up approximately one dozen sick geese from the area and drove to Grinnell to meet with volunteers with Iowa Bird Rehabilitation, a Des Moines-based, volunteer, non-profit group that works to rehabilitate orphaned and injured birds. The IBR volunteers took the geese the rest of the way to Des Moines to be cared for by members of their organization.

Posted by Brandon Caswell on Friday, February 19, 2021

Jenni Boonjakuakul, founder and C.E.O. of Iowa Bird Rehabilitation (IBR), told KCRG-TV9 that the geese appear to be suffering from some kind of severe neurological symptoms, but that it is unclear what is causing these symptoms.

Boonjakualkul said that the Iowa DNR have taken blood and tissue samples from one deceased duck and one deceased goose from that area in Coralville to Ames to be tested for lead and to determine if the birds suffered from any infectious diseases.

An Iowa DNR Officer confirmed to KCRG-TV9 on Saturday that a DNR biologist had taken samples from the duck and goose to Ames to be examined and tested, but it is unclear at this time if either animal was actually ill or displaying symptoms.

KCRG-TV9 attempted to reach out to other DNR officials for more details and information about the situation but, as of Saturday, have not heard back.

On Saturday, local volunteers and other IBR volunteers worked again from morning until sundown rounding up more sick geese to be cared for.

IBR said that, as of Saturday, they are currently caring for 43 geese that were transported IBR volunteers from Coralville to Des Moines over the past two days.

According to Darby, volunteers are reporting that some (but not all) of the geese being cared for are showing signs of improvement after being moved into warmer temperatures and receiving water and food. But some still appear to be ill.

Weather and safety permitting, Darby said she plans to reconvene on Sunday and Monday near the dam to gather more sick geese and seek treatment for them.

Update: 12 more geese are on the way to us in 1 car, and possibly 12 more in a second carload (still trying to catch a...

Posted by Iowa Bird Rehabilitation on Saturday, February 20, 2021

Warning: Videos below depict animals that appear to be ill. Videos may be disturbing to some:

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