MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) — Brookgreen Gardens has temporarily closed its waterfowl aviary to foot traffic due to growing concerns nationally about avian influenza, according to the nonprofit organization.
The move mimics efforts done by zoos across the continent, who are bringing endangered birds inside or keeping them away from people and other animals in order to shield them from avian influenza.
Brookgreen Gardens told News13 that its other walk-through aviary containing herons, egrets and other birds will be kept open because the organization is able to clean the boardwalk daily, and because there isn’t another facility for the birds to be housed in.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the bird flu in several states, including North Carolina. Tuesday, North Carolina announced that all state poultry shows and public sales were being suspended due to outbreaks.
The highly contagious flu has been found in flocks, which has then led to birds being “depopulated” in an effort to spread the virus’ spread, according to the USDA. The outbreaks do not currently present an immediate public health concern, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than 90,000 turkeys and 280,000 broilers have been killed and composted on the site of the outbreaks to prevent the flu from spreading in North Carolina.
At the Toronto Zoo, efforts have included adding roofs to outdoor bird exhibits, according to the Associated Press. At the National Aviary in Pittsburg, staff are conducting health checks on about 500 birds.