Friday, September 11, 2009

Auckland's Toxic Beaches - 3 More Sick Dogs

A warning sign on a North Shore Beach, Rangitoto Island in the background. Click to enlarge.

Just when you thought it was 'safe' to go back in the water 3 more dogs have shown symptoms of poisoning after visiting beaches in the North Shore area of Auckland. Warnings signs like the one above appeared on most North Shore beaches advising people not to take dogs or children onto the beaches until they were (prematurely?) removed only 11 days ago.

As yet we have no news on the results of tests for 'rat poison' there were supposed to have been carried out on a number of dead dolphins from the area. The islands of Rangitoto and Motu were recently bombarded with toxins to wipe out pests. A comment from a marine biologist about bait in the intertidal zone was left on this blog - see link

One news report today about the current poisoning stated:
"Three more sick dogs have prompted Auckland health authorities to renew warnings to take care on the city's beaches.

The seriously ill dogs showed symptoms of tetrodotoxin poisoning.

One dog became ill after walking on Narrow Neck beach and another two became sick after walking on Takapuna beach. Authorities believe they they have the same toxin that killed five dogs and made at least 10 others ill last month.(Ed. this has yet to be confirmed)

The toxin, found in vomit from one of the dead dogs, is known as TTX and was traced to sea slugs found on Cheltenham and Narrow Neck beaches in Devonport.

"If you go back to the beach please, please keep children and pets under close supervision," said Auckland Regional Public Health Service spokeswoman Sally Young.

Emergency doctors have been advised that the TTX found in one small slug on Narrow Neck beach could, if eaten, be enough to kill a dog or a child."
No news yet as to whether the original warning signs (see photo above) will be re-erected, it's a difficult choice to be made now that summer is on its way and pressure is on for people to use the beaches freely, one may only hope that a child does not fall ill, or worse.

For the background to this story please see blog posts:
Questions surround DOC poison drops
Sea Life deaths continue in Hauraki Gulf - spike in dolphin deaths
Auckland beaches' poison - another 30 dogs sick, sea slugs poisoned, dog death in Stanmore Bay.
Mass poison drops scheduled to wipe out pests (first published 24 June 09)

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