Mar 30, 2022 - News

Zoo keeps birds inside for safety amid avian flu

A Humboldt penguin with a blue arm band
A Humboldt penguin, one of the birds the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is keeping inside as a precaution during a nationwide avian flu outbreak. Photo: Grahm S. Jones, courtesy of the zoo

The Columbus Zoo has temporarily moved its birds indoors as a precaution as an outbreak of avian flu makes its way across the U.S.

What's happening: The closed exhibits include penguin, flamingo, crane and swan habitats and three aviaries, spokesperson Jen Fields tells Axios.

State of play: Earlier this month, three cases of the highly contagious and deadly flu strain were detected in two bald eagles and a herring gull in northwest Ohio, per a statement from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The big picture: No commercial or backyard flocks in Ohio have tested positive yet for the virus, USDA data shows. But concerns are growing nationwide that the fast-spreading disease could devastate the poultry industry.

What's next: There's no reopening date for the zoo's exhibits, as officials continue to "proactively monitor and evaluate the situation," Fields says.

  • The virus does not pose a threat to humans, but the state advises against handling sick or dead birds.
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