Minnesota zoos take precautions for avian flu
Zoos in the Twin Cities metro are taking steps to protect their birds amid an avian flu outbreak.
Why it matters: The latest outbreak of the highly contagious and deadly virus has already sickened more than a dozen poultry flocks across the state.
- While the impact on Minnesota's turkey industry is a major concern, exotic birds could also be at risk.
What they're doing: A Minnesota Zoo spokesperson tells Axios staff are implementing various "biosecurity" measures to prevent exposure on its Apple Valley grounds.
- "For those working in our animal care facilities, mandatory protective clothing, sanitizing foot-baths, and glove-changes are already required," the zoo said in a statement.
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in St. Paul is also tracking the situation and adding shoe- and foot-baths with viral disinfectants for staff interacting with its flamingo population, per a spokesperson.
Behind the changes: The flu can spread through droppings from migrating birds. Cleaning shoes is one way to make sure the virus isn't tracked into exotic bird habitats.
Zoom out: Similar precautions are being taken at zoos and animal sanctuaries across the country, including in Des Moines.
- Meanwhile, a number of venues nationwide, including The Philadelphia Zoo, have closed bird exhibits and temporarily moved winged residents indoors.
Be smart: If you encounter a wild bird that appears to be sick, zoo officials recommend that you call the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota or the Minnesota Raptor Center.
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