Zoos nationally move to protect avian populations

BROOKFIELD, Ill. — Millions of chickens at poultry farms have already grow to be unwell, died or been culled because of a extremely contagious avian flu outbreak. Raptors and birds of prey, together with bald eagles, are additionally changing into contaminated. Zoos are actually involved and are altering their procedures throughout the nation.

At the Brookfield Zoo simply outdoors Chicago, the white pelicans like many different birds have been moved indoors to guard them from a lethal avian flu pressure.

“This yearm the bird flu outbreak is a very dangerous one. It’s a high pathogenicity avian influenza,” mentioned Dr. Sathya Chinnadurai, senior vp of animal well being and welfare on the Chicago Zoological Society.

He mentioned the current outbreak of fowl flu has pressured zoos across the nation to maneuver their avian populations indoors – and away from the general public.

“Some of our birds, like peacocks, guinea fowl that are very closely related to chickens, those are birds that we consider very susceptible to avian influenza. So, we brought them into their indoor winter holding areas,” mentioned Chinnadurai.

In mid-January, the Department of Agriculture first detected the extremely contagious pressure of avian flu in a wild fowl in South Carolina. The Eurasian H5 influenza — hasn’t been seen right here within the U.S. since 2016.

It’s a significant concern for quite a few weak avian species.

“Bird flu is a wildlife disease, right. It moves along migratory bird flyways with migratory waterfowl,” mentioned Chinnadurai. “For us, we want to make sure that we’re not putting any endangered, threatened species at risk of contracting this potentially deadly disease.”

In current days dozens of bald eagles within the wild have reportedly died from the virus – possible via feeding on contaminated stay prey or scavenging carcasses.

“We’re talking about the poultry industry. We’re talking about the zoo industry. But obviously, the birds that are being hit the hardest are free-ranging wildlife,” mentioned Chinnadurai. “Hundreds of birds that have potentially died from this disease, and that could be devastating for threatened populations like bald eagles.”

As of late final week, at the very least 34 states have detected a constructive case of the avian flu in wild fowl samples in line with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

At the Baker’s Lake Forest Preserve – residence to one of the crucial substantial heron rookeries within the Midwest over 200 wild birds died over the course of only one week.

Though additional federal testing is underway it’s presumed to have been attributable to the H5 flu.

Back on the Brookfield Zoo, they’ve added footpath and disinfection stations to their fowl buildings to forestall infectious materials from spreading.

And although thousands and thousands of chickens have been killed to forestall the unfold of the virus, Chinnadurai says zoos gained’t have to try this.

“Compared to a poultry operation that would have thousands of birds, we can more effectively isolate and test individual birds here,” he mentioned.

In the meantime, wildlife specialists proceed to watch transmission via migration season. But it might be months earlier than it’s secure for these birds to return outdoors.

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