ZOO CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
502-238-5331 (Media Cell 502-744-5639)
With recently confirmed Kentucky cases of avian flu in wild birds west of Jefferson County, 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.
No human infections from this virus have been found in the U.S., therefore guests are not at risk. The Zoo is a safe place to visit.
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. Currently, the disease has been detected in 12 other states, including New York, Indiana, Florida and the Carolinas.
“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 Zoo birds to protected Zoo areas including the Chilean flamingos, white storks and bald eagle.
“We’ve been following these developments closely and have drafted a plan to minimize the risk to the Zoo’s animal collection,” said Dr. Zoli Gyimesi, Zoo Senior Veterinarian. “Closing walkthrough aviaries is prudent at this time given the recent avian influenza cases being detected in wild ducks within 50 miles of the Zoo.”
The Zoo will continue to monitor avian flu findings and update protocols accordingly.
About the Louisville Zoo
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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