The current scenario in North America is such that the sole species available for display in zoos are “penguins”, basically due to the fact that they get protection through “behind the glass” in exhibits, thereby making it tough to get infected with bird flu. Otherwise, the zoos are onto moving the birds indoor as well as away from wildlife and people as they are putting their best foot forward in protecting them from deadly and contagious avian Antisera influenza.
As a precautionary measure, close to 23 Mn turkeys and chicken have already been done away with all across the US for limiting the spread of virus. Also, zoos are at their wit’s end with respect to preventing the birds from cutting the sorry figure.
For Toronto Zoo
As per Maria Franke, Toronto Zoo’s manager of welfare science, it’s pretty devastating to zee the zoo that has merely less than 24 Loggerhead Shrike songbirds, which are looked upon as precious species with the expectation of re-introducing them to the people. Almost the entire staff has been employed for caring for animals at the zoo.
Efforts are being made in this regard. For instance – Toronto Zoo workers are going on to add roofs to certain outdoor bird exhibits along with double-checking mesh that surrounds enclosures, so as to ascertain that the wild birds are kept out.
It is a known fact that birds do shed virus via nasal discharge and droppings. As per experts, the virus could spread via contaminated clothing, equipment, vehicles, and boots that carry supplies. Research states that the small-size birds squeezing into zoo exhibits/buildings are capable of spreading flu. Furthermore, mice could track it inside.
As of now, no outbreaks are reported at zoos, but wild birds were found succumbing to flu. For instance – a wild duck that had passed away behind-the-scenes region of Blank Park Zoo (Des Moines, Iowa) post tornadoes had tested positive, as stated by Ryan Bickel – a spokesperson.
The zoos are taking steps such that they could prevent contact between zoo animals and wild birds. In certain places, officials need employees change into don protective gear and clean boots prior to making an entry to bird areas.
On finding bird flu cases in poultry, the flock on the whole is destroyed as the virus is contagious. At the same time, the US Department of Agriculture has said that isolation of infected birds, or even euthanizing some of them could avert taking this step.
Sarah Woodhouse expresses her optimism on taking with federal and state regulators on this count. She is the director of animal health at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. She has clarified that the authorities have shown interest in working with her team to go for this selective depopulation, so that the birds could be saved from extinction with the last-ditch effort of killing them in unison. On the other hand, as per Luis Padilla, euthanasia is the only way of keeping the virus at bay.
Fingers Crossed! Let’s see!