Posted: May 6, 2022 | 8:46 am
We are taking precautionary measures, in line with other animal care facilities here in the State of Texas. Since the beginning of the year we have been closely monitoring the outbreak of High Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), a viral respiratory disease found in birds. The virus has now been documented in Wichita County, Texas, yesterday by Texas Parks and Wildlife. It was discovered in a native bird this time, as opposed to an agriculturally raised bird. So the Abilene Zoo is taking immediate steps to protect the birds in our care from this disease. We will be housing the highest risk animals into their indoor habitats. This includes flamingos, ducks, geese, and other high risk members of our collection. We will continue to keep our guest feeding stations, where the risk of exposure to wild birds is elevated, closed to reduce the number of wild birds in or around the zoo.
The zoo consistently surveys Zoo and wild birds for this disease and there have been no positive results for HPAI to date. Abilene Zoo leadership and our veterinary team will continue to monitor the situation and make additional decisions as the outbreak continues. Though we don’t have a specific timeline for how long this will endure, we hope that all birds will be back in their outdoor habitats this summer.
While we make adjustments to our collection in the Zoo, we will continue to operate our Bird Rehabilitation Center. The mission of our Bird Rehabilitation team will not be halted at this time, however they will be taking precautions with personal protective equipment and strategies to ensure we eliminate cross contamination to our collection from any bird brought in the Rehabilitation Center.
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