The Dallas and Fort Worth Zoos are placing all of their African penguins, flamingos, and other birds behind the scenes amid the threat of avian flu.
The disease induced by infection with avian influenza Type A viruses is known as avian influenza or bird flu. These viruses transmit naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry, other birds, and animals.
On Monday, the Dallas Zoo released a statement notifying individuals that due to confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), most of their birds will be put away as a precautionary measure. The team of zoologists and veterinarians will monitor their birds and follow protocols accordingly.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), in this year’s highly pathogenic bird flu outbreak in the United States, more than 17 million birds have died from sickness or depopulation.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reports that 14.4 million of those birds were chickens, 1.7 million were turkeys, and the rest were a mix of commercial birds that were not identifiable by species data.
The Fort Worth Zoo is also taking precautions with its birds. The zoo is increasing cleaning measures, reducing human traffic, and fewer birds will be available for viewing until the bird flu threat has passed.
“We are taking similar precautions here at the Fort Worth Zoo,” said the Fort Worth Zoo in a statement to WFAA. “Our veterinarians and animal curators have been following this closely, and there is a preparedness plan in place. Because HPAI (bird flu) was confirmed within 100 miles, we are making changes to minimize the risk of infection to our birds.”
These types of precautions are not just happening in Texas. Zoos across North America are taking drastic measures to protect their birds from avian influenza. In order to help prevent the spread of the disease, zoos are moving their birds indoors and away from people and wildlife. Additionally, they’re implementing strict isolation requirements for any new arrivals.