Tuesday, October 4, 2022
Home SCIENCE Suspected bird flu case closes Paignton Zoo

Suspected bird flu case closes Paignton Zoo

Paignton Zoo said its top priority was protecting its birds

A zoo has been closed in Devon due to a suspected case of bird flu.

Paignton Zoo was closed after a dead pelican was found on Sunday and bosses said they were awaiting test results to see if it was the highly infectious H5N1 strain.

Staff said their priority was to protect the birds and minimize the spread of infection.

The zoo is expected to remain closed Tuesday, and staff said anyone who has booked a visit will receive a refund.

In a Facebook postHis bosses wrote: “We know this will lead to great disappointment for those of you who had planned to visit us and we are very sorry.

“Our top priority at the moment is protecting our birds and as a conservation charity we are working with the [government’s] Animal and Plant Health Agency and complying with its requirements in order to minimize the spread of this viral infection.

Species at risk

Zoo CEO Dennis Flynn said the Animal and Plant Health Agency issued an official notice of restriction to close as soon as the zoo was notified of the bird’s death.

He said: “We are losing a lot of money by having to stay closed, and we are not funded by the government.

“But we are also a conservation organization and we have to protect the species at risk that we have here.”

He said test results should be available quickly, but the zoo did not expect to be open Tuesday.

“We’ll let people know as soon as we get more information,” Flynn added.

The H5N1 strain of avian influenza virus is highly contagious among birds and is spread by close contact with an infected bird, living or dead.

The website for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the virus was “mainly a disease of birds and the risk to the health of the general public is very low”.

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