Pelicans being killed by deadly Botox bacteria that thrives in hot weather

Posted December 05, 2018 11:15:02

Photo: Twins Paula and Bridgette Powers with a pelican at Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue. (ABC Sunshine Coast: Jo Skinner)

Bird rescuers in Queensland say pelicans on the Sunshine Coast are suffering and dying from botulism at a rate they have not seen in two decades.

Botulism is a form of poisoning caused by toxins produced by clostridium botulinum bacteria — the same toxin used in the popular cosmetic procedure, Botox.

Sisters Bridgette and Paula Powers, who have run Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue for 18 years, have treated 10 pelicans for botulism in the past fortnight alone.

Another four were found dead on Golden Beach in the same period.

“There has been botulism before, but never this many in a short time,” said Bridgette Powers, who said the condition can quickly turn lethal.

“We had a special pelican named Silver. We saw him a week ago and then when we found him again, it was too late — he passed away in our arms.