Louisville Zoo temporarily closes bird displays to stop avian flu

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As a precautionary step, the Louisville Zoo has closed a few of its displays to stop the spread of avian flu. 

Public walk-through aviaries have been closed and a few of the zoo’s birds have been moved to protected areas “out of an abundance of caution,” the zoo announced in a news release. 

It cited recently confirmed cases of avian flu in wild birds west of Jefferson County. Apart from Kentucky, the disease has been present in 12 other states. 

With social distancing enforced and a greatly reduced capacity, the Louisville Zoo reopened on Friday afternoon to members with online reservations. 6/12/20

Not one of the zoo’s birds are showing clinical signs of the disease and human infections from the virus haven’t been present in the U.S., so guests will not be in danger, in response to the zoo. 

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“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. These measures are intended to expressly protect the Zoo birds. Zoo guests will not be in danger. Your Zoo continues to be one in all the safest places to go to anywhere.”

The areas closed include: 

  • Forest Bird Trail
  • African penguin exhibits within the Islands Pavilion
  • Steller’s Sea Eagle Aviary in Glacier Run
  • Lorikeet Landing in Australia 

“We’ve been following these developments closely and have drafted a plan to reduce the danger to the Zoo’s animal collection,” said Zoli Gyimesi, the zoo’s 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.”

Contact reporter Krista Johnson at kjohnson3@gannett.com.