The decomposing bodies of millions of mink culled due to the coronavirus infection may have soiled groundwater, Denmark's Radio4 reported, citing a government report. The study conducted by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland and the Technical University of Denmark says the area where the furry animals were buried has likely become contaminated.
The Danish Environment Protection Agency has not yet commented on the news. According to Radio4, the agency is currently assessing the damage caused by the mass mink graves. The results are expected to be unveiled early next year.
The development comes more than a week after Danish authorities announced they were considering digging up the carcasses of the mink in order to cremate them. At the end of November, the government said it feared gases such as phosphorus and nitrogen could be released during decomposition. Prior to their burial, however, authorities said the dead mink wouldn't pose a risk to the environment.
The mass cull of the furry animals was ordered at the beginning of November, when it became known that a mutated version of COVID-19 appeared after the mammals contracted the disease from humans. While the gasing of millions of animals was a daunting decision for Denmark, the world's leader in the mink fur industry, burying the mammals actually proved to be an even more daunting challenge. After long consideration authorities decided to inter the animals in pits in a military area.
However, it seems the Danish authorities soon regretted their choice as hundreds of dead animals rose from the graves as the gas used to kill the mink caused their bodies to swell and resurface.