Fungus Responsible for Deaths of Hundreds of Geese

FEBRUARY 9, 2006 - Posted at 7:52 a.m. CST

BALD KNOB, AR - Wildlife officials say a fungus apparently killed nearly 900 geese at the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge in White County.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials said the cause of the deaths of 869 snow geese was determined by necropsies on several of the dead geese.

The officials identified the killer as aflatoxicosis, produced by the fungi Aspergillus.  The toxin is found in cereal grains, including corn, which was found in the crop and gizzards of the collected geese.

The dead geese were discovered on January 9.  The geese apparently fed on the affected corn and flew back to the refuge where they died from the toxins.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)