Experts are baffled by a mystery disease ravaging magpies in WA.
Members of the public have reported spotting the black and white birds as weak and unable to fly.
Since January, Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre has received 90 rescue magpies, including 14 with all the symptoms of the illness.
Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre’s chairperson Helen Riley said symptoms included a progressive weakness, leg paralysis and rapid weightloss.
Other anecdotal signs included depression, respiratory distress and mucous discharge.
The centre is assisting the birds in supportive therapy, where warmth, rest, a good diet and antibiotics all play an important role in the bird’s recovery.
If treated early, the chances of survival are increased. However, those brought in towards the later stages of the disease aren’t as fortunate.
Mrs Riley stated that there was a 50-50 survival rate with the magpies they have treated at Kanyana so far.
Adding that they are currently unsure of the cause of the mystery disease, and that it could possibly be viral, insect borne or genetic.
Although investigations are still ongoing, a Perth Zoo spokeswoman said the presentation of the magpies bear resemblance to the reports in the eastern states of a neurological syndrome.
Perth Zoo senior veterinarian Simone Vitali said post mortem examinations of bodies were being undertaken, with additional testing to investigate possible infectious causes of the disease.
Ms Vitali said the sick magpies had not been concentrated to a single geographical area so far and that the findings do not suggest a poisoning or “bating” incident.
Depending on the initial results, further testing is set to be carried out by Perth Zoo and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
Kanyana Wildlife urges members of the public to be vigilant of the magpies in their local area and bring them to their rehab centre if they are showing any symptoms of this mystery disease.
This article originally appeared on PerthNow.