Contact: Kyle Shepherd
(O) 502-238-5331 (C) 502-744-5639
With recently confirmed cases of avian flu discovered in a Fayette County backyard poultry flock, the Louisville Zoo is taking precautionary measures to keep its bird ambassadors safe and healthy. Starting today, the Zoo has temporarily closed its public walk-through aviaries and is moving some birds to protected areas out of an abundance of caution. None of the Zoo’s birds are currently showing clinical signs of the disease.
Avian flu or Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, can be contagious in birds and can affect several species, including domestic chickens and turkeys, both in backyard flocks and commercial flocks. Avian flu viruses can be harbored in wild waterfowl and shorebird populations.
The chances of humans becoming infected with this virus is extremely low. There has only been one confirmed case of human infection in the U.S., and that person was involved with culling thousands of infected poultry.
“As always, 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 will help ensure the birds’ health for as long as the situation requires. These measures are intended to expressly protect the Zoo birds. Zoo guests are not at risk. Your Zoo continues to be one of the safest places to visit anywhere.”
Until the threat clears, areas closed to guests in the Louisville Zoo include the Forest Bird Trail and the African penguin exhibits in the Islands Pavilion, Steller’s Sea Eagle Aviary in Glacier Run, and Lorikeet Landing in Australia. To prevent co-mingling with wild native waterfowl, the Zoo will be relocating some birds to protected areas including the Chilean flamingos, Dalmatian pelicans, black swans, and bald eagle.
“We’ve been following these developments closely and have a plan to minimize the risk to the Zoo’s birds” said Dr. Zoli Gyimesi, Zoo Senior Veterinarian. “Closing walkthrough aviaries is prudent at this time given the uptick in avian influenza cases in our region”
The Zoo will continue to monitor avian flu findings and update protocols accordingly.
For FAQs visit https://louisvillezoo.org/avian-flu-faq/
About the Louisville Zoo
Since 2011, under Mayor Fischer’s administration, the Louisville Zoo celebrated its 50th anniversary, opened nine new exhibits and attractions, and won national awards for Glacier Run and School at the Zoo. Considered Kentucky’s most popular not-for-profit paid attraction, the Zoo welcomed nearly 9 million guests in the last decade. In 2021, the Zoo was voted “Best Place to Take Kids in Summer,” by LEO Weekly, “Best Kid-Friendly Attraction” by Kentucky Living Magazine and Boo at the Zoo presented by Meijer made the Top 10 Halloween Festivals list by thetravel.com. Community Access Memberships, deep-discount days, the Future Healers Got Zoo Buddies partnership and the accessible playground are among prime efforts to make Louisville Zoo even safer, more engaging, and more inclusive. Among the Louisville Zoo’s most successful conservation programs, the black-footed ferret breeding effort produced 1,100 kits and repatriated more than 800 of these most highly endangered, American mammals to the wild.
The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state Zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
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