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North Carolina Zoo Closes Aviary to the Public as Precautionary Measure to Protect Birds

Posted on 01/24/22

Asheboro, NC – With recently confirmed cases of avian flu in wild birds found in eastern North Carolina, the North Carolina Zoo is taking the precautionary measure of closing its Aviary habitat to the public.

 

For birds, Avian flu is a highly contagious viral disease that can affect several species of birds, including domestic poultry and wild birds. This disease, if spread, could have devastating effects on poultry farms (both commercial and backyard flocks) and birds living in zoos and wildlife centers.

 

“Closing the Aviary is a preventive, precautionary measure to protect all our bird species at the Zoo as the disease can spread very quickly and is often fatal to them,” said the Zoo’s Director of Animal Health Dr. Jb Minter. “The disease has so far only been found in a very few wild birds in North and South Carolina.”

 

The Zoo will work with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and the USDA to determine when it can safely reopen the Aviary habitat. The Zoo will immediately test its birds that show any clinical signs of illness, which includes sneezing, coughing, lack of energy and poor appetite. 

 

Currently, none of the birds at the Zoo are showing any clinical signs of the disease.

 

In addition, to protect all its bird species onsite, the Zoo has increased biosecurity for its staff, such as restricting only certain teams to work with the Zoo’s birds. 

 

No human infections from this virus have been found in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says transmission of the virus from birds to humans is very rare and considers the risk to the general public very low. You can find a link to more information on the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu.

 

Anyone that owns domestic poultry or is around wild birds is encouraged to find more information about caring for your own flock of birds. You can find the USDA’s recommended steps to increase the biosecurity of backyard poultry flocks on their website.

 

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About the North Carolina Zoo

At the North Carolina Zoo, we celebrate nature. As the world’s largest natural habitat Zoo, we inspire a lifelong curiosity about animals for the hundreds of thousands of people who visit our Zoo each year. Our dedicated team of experts provides exceptional, compassionate care for the more than 1,800 animals and 52,000 plants that call our Park home. We also lead efforts locally and globally to protect wildlife and wild places because we believe nature’s diversity is critical for our collective future. The North Carolina Zoo invites all of our guests to witness the majesty of the wild in the heart of North Carolina and welcomes everyone to join in our mission to protect nature’s diversity. Visit NCZoo.org to begin your life-changing journey.

 

About the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development. 

 

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call 919- 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

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