GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Zoos have shut down exhibits and farmers are being warned to keep their poultry livestock indoors as the bird flu spreads across the country.
Avian flu is highly contagious and affects several species of birds. One infected bird could decimate an entire flock, which could cause major financial damage to a farm.
While there haven’t been any positive cases reported here in the Triad, there have been cases in other parts of North Carolina.
Most of the bird displays at the Greensboro Science Center stand quiet. They’re empty. It’s been like this for a few months now.
“We have peacocks that roam the zoo. We allow our chickens to roam the zoo, and unfortunately all of those birds had to be closed up and are in holding spaces inside,” said Jessica Hoffman, vice president of animal care and welfare with the GSC.
It may seem like overkill for a place with no reported infections, but this is a serious virus. One infected bird could be detrimental to an entire flock.
“For us at the science center, it would potentially be a loss of our collection of animals if we had one of our animals show up positive,” Hoffman said.
It’s the reason the North Carolina Zoo closed their bird exhibits back in January. They were one of the first zoos in the country to do so.
It’s a concern for the commercial poultry industry as well. The state department of agriculture has suspended all poultry sales, swap meets and some youth programming. Backyard farmers are also asked to be proactive.
“Take this time to review or develop a bio security plan. And keep in mind that if you do have backyard birds, we encourage you to not allow them to free range at this point so they’re not coming in contact with fecal matter,” said Jonas Asbill, a North Carolina area specialized agent for poultry.
In the meantime, poultry is still safe to eat, but you may not see your favorite exotic birds on your trips to the zoo for a while.
The bird exhibits in Greensboro and Asheboro will remain closed until further guidance come out from the department of agriculture.
Right now, there is no set date for the zoos in Greensboro or Ashboro to reopen their bird exhibits. They both say they’re waiting on further guidance from the Department of Agriculture