HAMMOND, Ind. - The deaths of several geese, ducks and other birds around a lake in northwestern Indiana and northeastern Illinois have environmentalists and some area residents seeking answers from officials.
About 10 protesters held a demonstration Friday near Wolf Lake, demanding transparency on how the birds died, the Post-Tribune reported Monday.
"Those geese are big and if it’s something naturally causing it, we’re not pointing fingers," said Marisa Rowden, administrator for the environmental group Save Whiting and Neighbors. "We just want to be in the know."
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources said it received reports of the dead waterfowl and dead fish dating back to mid-February. The cause of death is still under investigation.
Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said in a statement that the city’s water sampling on March 11 around Wolf Lake and soil tests for toxic metals using an X-ray fluorescence analyzer did not return unusual results.
"Many different theories have been put forth as the cause including the harsh winter weather in February, an avian cholera outbreak (for the bird deaths), as well as nonnatural, human-made causes," he said.
Leo Mores, 60, of Robertsdale, said earlier this month he found at least 20 dead birds that seemed to be geese, ducks and coots dead along the shoreline.
"It was all concentrated," Mores said.
After coming across the dead birds, Mores called the state DNR, which is investigating the deaths with the state Department of Environmental Management, according to a March 4 joint press release.
The agencies have asked the public to avoid the area as they examine all causes of death, including natural causes.