08/10/2015 03:05 EDT | Updated 08/09/2016 05:59 EDT

Syncrude Mildred Lake Site Focus Of Alberta Regulator Probe Into Report Of Blue Heron Deaths

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 10: A great blue heron is seen during round two of THE PLAYERS Championship at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is investigating reports that approximately 30 blue herons have died at an oilsands site.

The regulator says in a news release it has sent staff to the Syncrude Canada Mildred Lake mine site, north of Fort McMurray, to assess the situation.

It says the cause of the deaths is still under investigation.

The regulator says wildlife deterrent programs, including those at the Mildred Lake, are inspected regularly to make sure they're working following previous bird deaths at oilsands facilities.

More than 1,600 ducks died after they landed on a toxic Syncrude tailings pond in northern Alberta in 2008, and the company was fined $3 million.

Two years later, more than 550 birds had to be destroyed when an early winter storm forced them to land on waste ponds belonging to Syncrude and Suncor.



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