Potter Park Zoo is making sure their birds are safe, happy amid Michigan Avian Flu outbreaks

“It’s a multiple-pronged approach”
How Potter Park Zoo is fighting against bird flu
Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 5:57 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - After two cases of Avian flu have been confirmed in U.S zoos, zookeepers are working to protect their birds -- Potter Park Zoo is no exception.

Related: Due to threat of avian flu, Michigan DNR has advice for people with bird feeders

Dr. Ronan Eustace is the Director of Animal Health at Potter Park Zoo. He said they are being proactive -- if a bird is highly susceptible to Avian flu, the bird is taken inside and kept away from the public.

“It’s a multiple-pronged approach. One, removing highly susceptible birds [and taking them] indoors or into meshed exhibits,” Eustace said. “We have to assume that it could potentially be in Ingham County and we’re taking preventative measures to minimize the risk of transmission from wild birds to zoo birds to keep them happy and healthy.”

Peacocks are an example of a highly susceptible bird. Potter Park Zoo will be keeping its peacocks indoors to protect their health. Eustace said even the chicks are being kept indoors until the virus starts to die down. Eustace said both peacocks and chicks are “very susceptible to highly pathogenic avian influenza so for the temporary foreseeable future, they’re not going to be out.”

That means if you’re a person who likes to see birds roaming around the zoo in the summer, you’ll have to wait until they are no longer in danger.

Experts are saying the risk to humans is low but we can still carry the virus. As a precautionary measure, people are encouraged to avoid close contact with wild birds. Experts also said the hot, summer air will help slow the spread of Avian Influenza because heat will destroy the virus.

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