With the opening of the duck shooting season this weekend,
Environment Southland urges duck shooters to be particularly vigilant for toxic
algae in rivers, especially with their dogs.
From early this year, a number of Southland rivers have been
affected by increased amounts of toxic algae (cyanobacteria), with warnings in
place up until last week.
While cyanobacteria levels have dropped with the recent
rainfall, there may still be some rivers affected and Environment Southland’s director
of science and information, Graham Sevicke-Jones encourages duck shooters to
know what to look out for and be extra vigilant with their dogs.
“People and animals, in particular dogs, should avoid
contact with cyanobacteria mats, which can accumulate on the sides of rivers,”
he said. “Eating just a small amount can be very harmful to dogs.”
Toxic algae usually occur as dark brown/black mats which
grow attached to rocks in the river or accumulate on the surface in shallow,
slow-flowing areas. They often have a strong, musty smell.
With the exception of the Mataura River at Mataura Island,
all warnings have been lifted. “However, Environment Southland’s monitoring
does not cover all reaches of all rivers, so extra awareness is needed,” Graham
If you experience health symptoms after contact with
contaminated water, visit a doctor immediately. Animals that consume
cyanobacteria should be taken to a vet immediately.