Cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have increased in backyard swarms and wild birds in dozens of states in recent months, and zoo staff have temporarily suspended bird exhibits. I am.
“The strain of the disease is highly contagious and deadly to birds,” the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore said in a statement on its website. “As a precautionary measure, we closed the aviary until the threat of bird flu subsided and moved some birds to behind-the-scenes facilities with restricted human contact until the threat of bird flu subsided. “
Zoo birds can be infected with wild birds, humans, or new birds brought into the facility.
Due to this expansion, in addition to Maryland, zoos in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, and Ohio have closed outdoor bird exhibits and moved birds indoors for safety. I started to take preventive measures such as.
The Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) has established all danger partnership programs for zoos and aquariums. This program works with the zoo to plan before it happens.
According to Rob Vernon, Senior Vice President of Communications and Strategy at AZA, precautionary measures include a strong quarantine protocol that puts tarpaulins and nets around exhibits, closes open walk-through aviaries, and closes open walk-through aviaries. There are things to implement.
“The facility will be in full response mode to protect the birds for at least the next few months until the infection is reduced,” Vernon said in a statement.
Zoo takes precautions
To prevent infection, zoos have taken various steps to keep birds safe.
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium prohibits the general public from accessing birds such as ostriches, chickens and owls. Visitors can see flamingos and penguins through the glass of their indoor habitat.
Dr. Anne Duncan, head of animal health at the Detroit Zoological Society, said moving birds indoors is an important precaution.
The Maryland Zoo has stated in a statement that it is in compliance with the multi-tiered response plan reviewed by USDA and other state departments.
The zoo, which has the largest African penguins colony in North America, has not detected cases, but according to senior communications director Mike Ebitz, the number of cases is sufficient to move birds indoors.
“We are hatching penguin chicks as part of a plan to increase the number of penguin chicks in the breeding program of the Zoo and Aquarium Association as part of our global conservation efforts,” he said.
The Columbus Zoo in Ohio also closed some bird habitats during surveillance and assessment, according to Communications Director Jenfields.
Gregory Wallace of CNN contributed to this report.