HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — Some wild geese that someone dropped off at the Hutchinson Zoo tested positive for bird flu, also known as Avian flu. Now, the zoo is closing its bird exhibits temporarily as a precaution.
The zoo has a rehab program that takes in injured or orphaned wildlife. Recently, the rehab facility received wild Canada geese that Zoo Director Nicole Mantz says were infected with bird flu.
She said the strain of bird flu the geese had is not believed to pose a high risk to humans, but many zoo animals, from birds to mammals and possibly some reptiles, are susceptible to the disease. So, the zoo implemented its action plan to protect them.
It temporarily closed the zoo’s aviary and other bird habitats to the public. Many birds have been moved indoors. Workers have modified other enclosures to prevent wild birds from coming into contact with zoo animals. Also, zoo workers use personal protective equipment while working with the animals.
Mantz says the zoo’s rehab program takes in, on average, about 700 animals a year. She said the program has been careful to reduce the risk of bird flu since the spring migration.
“Waterfowl and any birds showing symptoms of avian flu have been carefully evaluated and quarantined separate from the rest of the rehabilitation animals,” she said. “The staff has been utilizing biosecurity measures, including footbaths or shoe coverings, masks, and gloves, as well as complete PPE coverage when in contact with sick individuals.”
If you find a Canada goose that is injured or ill, call the Hutchinson Zoo at 620-694-2672 or take the bird to the zoo between 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
“We are currently conducting initial exams of all bird species outside of the zoo’s perimeter to ensure an extra level of safety for our collection,” Mantz said.