Apr 6, 2022 - News

Minnesota zoos take precautions for avian flu

emerald dove

An Emerald Dove at the Minnesota Zoo. Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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.

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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