Sacramento Zoo protecting its birds from avian flu outbreak

A new flamingo chick is cared for by its parents at the Sacramento Zoo this year. The Land Park facility has undertaken a host of biosecurity measures to protect its birds from infection by a new strain of avian flu sweeping across the country.

A new flamingo chick is cared for by its mother and father at the Sacramento Zoo this yr. The Land Park facility has undertaken a host of biosecurity measures to safeguard its birds from infection by a new pressure of avian flu sweeping across the country.

Sacramento Zoo

The detection of avian flu situations in Northern California has set the Sacramento Zoo on large inform, driving zookeepers to quarantine their flock of flamingos and drain the zoo’s lake show.

On July 14, the California Office of Fish and Wildlife declared that avian influenza H5N1 experienced been detected in two Canada geese and a person American white pelican in Glenn and Colusa counties. In response to growing worries about the virus, the Sacramento Zoo has applied an array of further biosecurity measures to defend its birds from infection.

“We are undoubtedly worried about the overall health of our birds with the detections that have been somewhat near to the Sacramento area,” reported Jenessa Gjeltema, an associate veterinarian at the zoo. “We know it’s in wild birds and we know it is not that considerably away from the Sacramento Zoo. Put together with the total of wild birds we typically see — it is thought of a possibility.”

“We have a strategy for every single single hen at the zoo,” Gjeltema said.

Despite the fact that avian flu viruses circulate obviously between communities of waterbirds, the strain of the virus currently spreading by the United States and Canada has caused sickness in a broader variety of chicken species than in former outbreaks. Primarily transmitted as a result of the droppings and nasal discharge of wild birds, the virus is typically not hazardous to individuals but can be lethal to birds.

When circumstances of the avian flu are discovered in farm poultry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture orders that the whole flock be euthanized within just 24 hrs to protect against further more transmission — a destiny that has currently been satisfied by in excess of 40 million chickens and turkeys given that the outbreak of the virus started in February.

USDA officers have reported that zoos will most likely not be purchased to euthanize their chicken collections if an outbreak takes place, but zoos nationwide have taken likewise stringent safeguards to minimize the threat of transmission.

“Avian influenza commenced on the East Coastline, and as it is labored its way in excess of west, we have had a couple of zoos who have experienced scientific sickness,” Gjeltema said. “To deal with that in our collections at the Sacramento Zoo, we are striving to make sure that we are ready forward of time.”

Concentration on waterbirds

Given that the virus is specially pervasive amongst waterfowl, Gjeltema stated that the zoo has concentrated its initiatives on restricting interaction among its waterbirds and the nearby ducks and geese dwelling in Land Park.

The zoo has drained its lake, which Gjeltema claimed is typically frequented by “wildlife visitors,” to prevent captive birds from make contact with with wild birds. The flamingos and ducks who normally reside in the lake habitat have been temporarily moved to an enclosed quarantine spot absent from public look at.

Though the avian flu is nicely-documented in waterfowl and poultry, Gjeltema spelled out that it is nevertheless unclear how it impacts other species — cases have been found in owls, hawks and even substantial, exotic cats like jaguars.

Subsequently, the zoo has also taken steps to protect the most vulnerable of its birds. To guard its flock of thick-billed parrots — a critically endangered species — the zoo has lined their enclosures with additional netting to reduce smaller sized wild birds from coming into or dropping feces into the habitat.

“Unfortunately, with this unique illness, we don’t thoroughly fully grasp which species are most inclined,” Gjeltema said. “We have an strategy, but especially with this newer strain, it’s a small tricky to tell how severe of an an infection it could likely result in in some of our endangered or significantly less widespread species, and those are likely to be the species in which we never truly want to come across out what could happen.”

This tale was initially released July 28, 2022 5:21 PM.

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Lucy Hodgman is a summer time reporting intern for The Sacramento Bee. At first from Brooklyn, she attends Yale College, where she studies English and writes for the Yale Day-to-day News.