GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — John Ball Zoo has quarantined all of its birds in response to the rise of bird flu cases in Michigan.
On Tuesday of last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories were alerted that the Avian Influenza was detected in a non-commercial backyard flock of birds in Kalamazoo.
So, John Ball Zoo is taking precautions by activating its Emergency Disease Plan. The zoo has temporarily closed all its walk-through bird cages and placed all birds in quarantine.
Andy McIntyre, the chief operating officer for John Ball Zoo, says sanitation is another important part of the plan as keepers care for the birds.
“We have foot baths there with disinfecting liquid in it so we can step in those and that way we know we’re not bringing it in with us,” McIntyre said.
The strain that was detected was found to be a Highly Pathogenic influenza, which can be very contagious and cause severe disease and often death. Birds like chickens and turkeys can be particularly susceptible, the zoo said.
So far, John Ball Zoo has not reported that any birds at their facilities are sick.
Binder Park Zoo in Calhoun County is also taking the threat seriously by moving more of its birds indoors, according to veterinarian Dr. Kim Thompson.
“Unfortunately in the U.S. we’ve started having more cases this year and then just recently, we had the case in Kalamazoo,” Thompson said.
Veterinarian Dr. Kim Thompson says the zoo already had a plan ready on how it would respond.
“We are going to go ahead and catch our free ranging peacocks that you probably have all visited and seen when you come here as a guest at the zoo. We are going to be moving those to a holding area,” Thompson said.
Thompson said the symptoms can vary depending on the type of bird and some are at greater risk.
“Anything that’s a waterfowl or chicken like bird those are gonna be the species we’re most worried about,” she said.