HAMMOND, Ind. (CBS) — Concerns were growing in Northwest Indiana this week after dozens of dead birds turned up by Wolf Lake.
As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported Thursday, people are now being asked to stay away.READ MORE: Woman, 2 Children In Hospital After Building Fire In Homan Square
Wolf Lake straddles the Southeast Side of Chicago and Hammond, Indiana. Recently, fisherman Lenard Mores took a video upon noticing a goose had died.
“That goose was alive yesterday swimming,” Mores said in the video. “Look at him now.”
Little did the fisherman know he would find dozens more. Mores counted over 30 dead waterfowl in the canal of Wolf Lake on the Indiana side.
“They were actually all along the shoreline here, all the way till up along the bridge,” Mores told CBS 2’s Parra.
Some of the dead birds are ducks, but most are Canada Geese – either lying on the ice or floating lifeless in the water.
“Nothing was done, so that’s when I started pulling geese out of the water and piling them up – and then the city workers came and took them,” Mores said.
The mysterious deaths and the possible explanations behind them are stirring debate among the people who live in the area.
“Lack of food or chemical kill? I’m not really too sure,” Mores said.
“I think that the local government should be letting us know that we might have a problem on our hands,” said resident Marisa Rowden.READ MORE: Cook County Sheriff's Officer Fires Shots During Attempted Traffic Stop: Police
Hammond is proudly industrial, but there is a fractured trust between some of the industrial plants and residents.
“We’ve had lead poisoning, cadmium poisoning, swans dying on the lake,” Rowden said.
That was years ago on the next lake over, Lake George. But Rowden wonders if we’re seeing repeated history.
One local wildlife agency in the area said they have rescued dozens of dehydrated geese. They said it is possible that the deaths are weather-related.
Other wildlife agencies said the state of Iowa has been seeing its own share of sick and dying geese from illness like avian cholera.
Residents have differing guesses, but they all hope to find an answer soon.
“I don’t want to see any animals die, but I mean, you know, if it’s a natural cause, there’s nothing we can do. If it’s because the weather, there’s nothing we can do,” Rowden said, “but if it’s because of something else and they’re being polluted, I don’t believe it’s right.”
Wildlife experts are asking the public to avoid the area where the birds were found while the investigation continues.
Meanwhile, as Wolf Lake is split between two states, Parra reached out to William W. Powers State Recreation Area, which runs the Illinois side, to see if they’ve seen the same phenomenon as the Indiana side. A spokesperson told her, “We’ve seen nothing like that.”
A necropsy and tests are currently being done on the dead birds to determine the cause of death – results could take weeks. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.MORE NEWS: Man Shot And Killed In Fuller Park
For resources on who to contact if you find dead wildlife, click here for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.