Animal wardens are yet to determine how caged ducklings, found lifeless in a Botanical Gardens enclosure, died.

The birds, which were found dead on April 8, have been examined with no answers forthcoming.

A Parks Department spokeswoman said: “We do not know what happened to the ducklings in this particular instance. The curator cleared out the aviary storage room and will be having it thoroughly cleaned and painted as a precaution.”

Parks staff stressed they always provided for the proper care of their animals, she said.

SPCA animal inspector Glyn Roberts told The Royal Gazette that the welfare of caged birds at the gardens had been a long-standing matter of complaint.

Chickens died after the staff member who had been tending them went on sick leave, and they were left without food last September. The deaths were attributed to a breakdown in communications.

Residents had also expressed concern about the ducks and chickens there, he said.

The peacock enclosure — which also contained ducks — had “little if any water in the drinkers, and no visible food” when the SPCA called on the aviaries on September 1, Mr Roberts said.

Director of Parks Lisa-Dawn Johnston subsequently met with the SPCA, the Parks spokeswoman said.

“After that meeting, the director then met with the curator and the gentleman responsible for the birds, and a plan was laid out to ensure that the birds are cared for properly.”

Mr Roberts said the SPCA remained concerned about “ongoing problems with the husbandry of the birds kept at the Botanical Gardens”.

“We did have a meeting last year with the director who gave certain assurances, but since then, phone calls and e-mail requests for a meeting to discuss the more general issue of animals kept on Government land have not been returned,” he said.

“The SPCA have complaints from the public dating back to 2010 regarding the aviaries outside Masterworks, which generally revolve around dead and dying birds.

“Clearly there is either a significant disease or husbandry problem at one of Bermuda’s premier tourist attractions and it is hoped that the results of the Government’s investigation can be made public as soon as possible.”

By Jonathan Bell The Royal Gazette