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Boreal Community Media

Loons dying from West Nile virus in northern Minnesota

Jul 22, 2019 09:31AM ● By Editor

Photo:  Loon Family by Travis Novitsky

From WTIP Radio News - July 22, 2019  

A recent uptick in reports of dead loons and test results indicate an impact from West Nile virus, according to nongame wildlife staff at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Minnesota confirmed West Nile virus as the cause of death in two of three dead loons from northeastern Minnesota earlier this month. Wildlife staff are receiving a small but noticeable increase in calls from people finding dead loons in northeastern Minnesota this summer.

“Minnesotans love our loons and it’s concerning for people to find them dead. When we start seeing multiple birds dying on a single lake, we want to know about it so we can start tracking the information and determine when further testing is warranted,” said nongame wildlife specialist Gaea Crozier. “While there isn’t a way to treat the West Nile virus infection, knowing the cause can help us rule out other, preventable causes of mortality.”

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Crozier about the loon population in northern Minnesota and the threat of West Nile virus on the bird’s population in the region.

To listen to the interview, follow this link to the WTIP website.

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