Mysterious condition causing paralysis, death in ravens in Canada

July 17, 2013 at 4:05 PM

VICTORIA, British Columbia, July 17 (UPI) -- A strange affliction has been paralyzing and then killing ravens in a region of British Columbia, wildlife experts say.

Leona Green, who runs a wildlife rehabilitation center near Dawson Creek where more than 30 paralyzed ravens have been brought since May, said she's never seen anything like it.

"Their legs were paralyzed, and then they actually atrophied," she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Wednesday. "They almost looked like they were mummified."

Despite all efforts to rehabilitate them the birds all died, she said.

Green said she has sent the bird carcasses to a laboratory in hopes of identifying the cause.

"Then this kind of mushroomed. I kept hearing more and more about it, and more dead birds," she said. "What's upsetting about it is the fact that we don't know what it is. Is it going to affect other birds, or even animals? We don't know."

A spokesperson for British Columbia's Fish and Wildlife Branch said it could not comment until lab tests are completed but that its experts do not believe there is a risk to human health.

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