Detroit Zoo temporarily moving its birds due to avian flu concerns

The Detroit Zoo announced that it is in the process of moving a majority of its birds indoors amid avian flu concerns.

The USDA and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) confirmed that the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is in the state. The virus was found in a Kalamazoo bird flock on Thursday.

HPAI can be spread through wild birds, infected poultry, equipment, and clothing.

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"This is an important preventative measure," said Dr. Ann Duncan, director of animal health for the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS). "By bringing these animals indoors, we can more closely monitor them and prevent contact with wild birds who may be carriers of HPAI."

Even though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says there is no immediate concern to public health, the USDA and MDARD advised those involved with birds to increase biosecurity to prevent the spread.

In response, the Detroit Zoo is in the process of moving its flamingos, ostrich, cassowary, sandhill cranes, birds housed in the Matilda R. Watson Free-Flight Aviary, and peafowl who roam the zoo.

The Polk Penguin Conservation Center will remain open because it has a separate air handling system.

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"The animals and their needs are always our top priority," said Dr. Hayley Murphy, executive director and CEO for the DZS. "Despite this temporary change, we hope to see you at the Zoo. It is only with your support that we can fulfill our mission of protecting and preserving the lives of the animals in our care."