Toronto Zoo taking steps to protect its birds from Avian Influenza

Toronto Zoo has closed its bird enclosure to the public after two confirmed cases of Avian Flu were confirmed in Ontario. Melissa Nakhavoly is speaking with zoo officials and experts about the highly contagious virus

A recent confirmed case of Avian Influenza (bird flu) at a chicken farm has prompted the Toronto Zoo to take steps to protect its birds.

The Zoo says the confirmed case is “within 200 kilometres” of the wildlife park.

As a result, the zoo says it is “required to take precautions to protect the birds in our care that will be effective tomorrow (Thursday, March 16th).”

The following steps will be taken:

For Guests:

  • The walk-through bird aviaries in the pavilions will be closed to guests or significantly modified to protect the birds.
  • Guests will be re-directed in pavilions to manage guest flow.
  • Behind-the-scenes tours of animal food preparation and bird housing areas will be suspended.

For Zoo Staff:

  • All Zoo staff will be required to use footbaths/footpads/dedicated area boot changes when entering any bird aviary/exhibit and staff back entrances to all buildings housing birds.
  • The use of poultry as food items for all Zoo animals will be temporarily discontinued.
  • The program to keep wild birds off Zoo site will be further intensified – this includes minimizing access to manure bins on-site that attract wild birds especially geese and waterfowl.

“While this strain of the disease is highly contagious and lethal to birds, it is important to note there have been no human cases detected in Canada,” the zoo said.

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