Louisville Zoo working to guard birds from avian flu

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With a cluster of avian flu cases confirmed in Kentucky, the Louisville Zoo is taking some precautionary steps to maintain its bird population secure.

What You Need To Know

  • The Louisville Zoo is closing some exhibits and relocating some birds out of caution after avian flu has been detected in the world
  • Chilean flamingos, white storks and bald eagles shall be relocated “until the threat clears”
  • The Zoo closed its public walk-through aviaries on Wednesday
  • No human infections have been present in the U.S.

The Zoo closed its public walk-through aviaries on Wednesday, in line with a news release. Although not one of the Zoo’s birds show any signs of the disease, zookeepers are moving some birds to protected areas to avoid potential exposure.

Chilean flamingos, white storks and bald eagles shall be relocated “until the threat clears.” The Forest Bird Trail, African penguin exhibit, Steller’s Sea Eagle Aviary and Lorikeet Landing will even be closed during that point.

“As at all times, our highest priority is animal safety and welfare,” said Dan Maloney, Executive Director of the Zoo. “By temporarily closing public access to the aviaries, and moving some birds to indoor areas, we are going to help make sure the birds’ health for so long as the situation requires.”

Maloney added that the Zoo stays secure for all guests, and that the measures are intended to guard the Zoo birds. No human infections from this virus have been present in the U.S.

Avian flu could be contagious in birds and may affect several species, including domestic chickens and turkeys, each in backyard flocks and business flocks. Avian flu viruses could be harbored in wild waterfowl and shorebird populations.

Cases were recently confirmed in wild birds due west of Jefferson County. Currently, the disease has been detected in 12 other states, including Latest York, Indiana and Florida.

“We’ve been following these developments closely and have drafted a plan to attenuate the danger to the Zoo’s animal collection,” said Dr. Zoli Gyimesi, Zoo Senior Veterinarian. “Closing walkthrough aviaries is prudent at the moment given the recent avian influenza cases being detected in wild geese inside 50 miles of the Zoo.”

The Zoo said it is going to proceed to observe avian flu findings and update protocols accordingly.