22 January 2019 — 3:42pm
Thousands of birds have been found dead at one of Western Australia's most important inland wetlands.
A Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development veterinarian arrived at Lake Gregory in the East Kimberley earlier this month to take sample, and found a number of wild birds in "poor conditions with low body weights".
On a department inspection, it was found several thousand birds had died at the wetland, but the cause of death remains a mystery.
Lake Gregory is a permanent freshwater lake located between the Great Sandy Desert and the Tanami Desert and was previously described by the department as the most important inland wetland in Australia.
Its ecosystem helps support about 650,000 waterbirds and is a major breeding ground for up to 80 species and a major migration stopover area for shorebirds.
It supports more than 1 per cent of the world population of pink-eared ducks; the same species believed to have been found dead. A number of black swans also died.
A department investigation excluded bird flu and Newcastle disease as a cause of death, but later identified the presence of blue-green algae close to the lake.