Zoo closes aviary habitat to public after avian flu found in wild birds in eastern North Carolina | Local

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ASHEBORO — With the discovery of avian flu in wild birds found in eastern North Carolina, the North Carolina Zoo is closing its aviary habitat to the public as a precaution, according to a zoo press release.

For birds, avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease that can affect several species of birds, including domestic poultry and wild birds. This disease, if spread, could have devastating effects on poultry farms (both commercial and backyard) and birds living in zoos and wildlife centers, the zoo said.

An outbreak of bird flu has killed more than 5,000 migrating cranes in Israel, prompting authorities to declare a popular nature reserve off-limits to visitors and warn of a possible egg shortage, with local poultry being culled as a precaution.



“Closing the aviary is a preventative and precautionary measure to protect all of our bird species at the zoo as disease can spread very quickly and is often fatal to them,” said the zoo’s director of animal health, the Dr. Jb Minter, in the press release. “The disease has so far only been found in very few wild birds in North and South Carolina.”

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Zoo officials will work with state and federal departments of agriculture to determine when the zoo can safely reopen the aviary habitat. They will also test any birds at the zoo that show clinical signs of illness, including sneezing, coughing, lack of energy and lack of appetite, according to the statement.

As of Tuesday, none of the zoo’s birds showed any of these signs, the zoo said.

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