Scientists work to save eagles from lethal toxin in lakes

Georgia News

FILE – In this Feb. 1, 2016 file photo, a bald eagle takes flight at the Museum of the Shenandaoh Valley in Winchester, Va. While once-endangered bald eagles are booming again in the Chesapeake Bay, the overall trajectory of endangered species and the federal act that protects them isn’t so clearcut. (Scott Mason/The Winchester Star via AP, File)

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Researchers have been trying to learn more about a plant that has invaded lakes across Georgia and the Southeast and contributed to the deaths of eagles and other birds.

Scientists say the hydrilla has helped to cause the deaths of American bald eagles and thousands of other water birds over the past 25 years.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports that the plant isn’t killing the birds directly, but is providing a home for a new kind of cyanobacteria that produces a lethal toxin.

An increasing number of afflicted birds began showing up in Arkansas, Georgia, and other states across the South.

The newspaper reports that the problem has been especially acute at Thurmond Lake, a man-made reservoir on the Savannah River between Georgia and South Carolina.

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