Animal experts look into why 19 ducks were found dead near a Chandler canal

Nearly two dozen dead ducks were found near a Chandler canal and so far, no one knows how they died.

A Chandler resident reported seeing 19 dead mallard ducks in and around a canal near Chandler Boulevard.

The city says it didn't receive any reports, but SRP says it did. Workers removed the dead ducks from the canal Saturday morning.

"Having a mass die-off of any kind, ducks, any type of birds, the best thing to do is to find out what it is and see what other species it may affect," said Jan Miller, the animal care coordinator with Liberty Wildlife.

The team at Liberty Wildlife worries when they hear news like this.

"You have to be careful anytime, with any diseases that are going around, and be aware of them and know what's going on, so you know how to treat animals that come in and do your best not to spread it," Miller explained.

SRP confirms it received multiple reports of dead ducks in a consolidated canal, and they were all removed. Arizona Game and Fish now takes over and the department will be doing a necropsy on one of the ducks to try and nail down a cause of death.

For now, it's all speculation.

"The big possibility because it's along a waterway is botulism. We have big outbreaks of botulism that can often kill many, many species," Miller explained.

Botulism isn't contagious. It's a bacterial infection caused by ingesting a certain toxin.

"If it's not botulism, you can have avian flu if it's on its way back, which would be terrible if it's coming back again. There's also West Nile. That's been an outbreak. We've had a couple cases here of that, so it's a matter of getting the testing done and finding out what's going on," she said.

It's possible their deaths were human-caused.

Miller says there are signs at parks for a reason, which tell people not to feed the ducks.