The mysterious deaths of four deer at Lake Lodi Nature Area in the past two months has puzzled state and local officials.
Three decomposing deer carcasses and a separate deer’s bones have been found at lake since June 18, said Lodi animal services officer Brena DeFazio. The most recent carcass was recovered Aug. 6 .
“At this point, we’re just trying to gather as much information as we can for any of the citizens that go out to the area,” DeFazio said.
The Lodi Animal Services Department has given the remains of the most recent discovery to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
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Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Janice Mackey said the carcass was too far decomposed for a viable tissue sample for testing. She said she cannot speculate about the cause of death, but “from time to time, diseases do run through deer herds” and the department monitors the situation.
There was a report from a person using the trail late last month that a deer looked sick, DeFazio said. But there is no way to determine if it is the same deer that was found dead Aug. 6.
“It does not look predatory, because the carcasses we have seen did not have any signs of that,” DeFazio said.
Other deer at the lake have been observed for symptoms of illness by state officials and appeared healthy, DeFazio said.
She believes it is concerning because of timing.
“I’ve been here 10 years and I haven’t had three deceased deer like this in a matter of a couple months,” she said. “It definitely makes you think as to what’s causing this.”
DeFazio encourages people visiting the lake to report any strange animal behaviors or dead animals to the Lodi Animal Services Department at 209-333-6741.