Aug 25, 2022 - News

Bird flu outbreak kills hundreds of vultures

Illustration of a bouquet of lilies in a birds nest.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

A metro Atlanta wildlife facility is closed for the rest of the month after hundreds of birds were found dead of bird flu.

Driving the news: The deceased wild black vultures were found at Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove on Aug. 13, the sanctuary said in a statement.

  • Tests were conducted and results confirmed avian influenza was the culprit.
  • State and federal officials were called in to help respond to the outbreak.

State of play: The Georgia Department of Agriculture placed Noah's Ark under quarantine and ordered it to undergo a thorough disinfecting. Noah's Ark's website says it will be closed through Sept. 3.

What they're saying: Noah's Ark said its vulture population "is still dying off as the disease runs its course" and an accurate count of deaths will be made in the coming days.

  • The parrots and exotic birds in the sanctuary's care are not showing signs of the flu, it said.

Threat level: Bo Warren, policy director with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, told Axios that the risk of the flu being transmitted to humans or other animals is "very low."

  • Federal rules require the euthanization of any domestic foul that could have been exposed to the virus, Warren said.
  • "Georgia is a global leader in poultry production, so this is an incident our agency takes very seriously," he said.

Noah's Ark is a nonprofit organization that cares for more than 1,500 animals on 250 acres of property, according to its website.

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