Audubon Statement on Avian Influenza Precautions
(NEW ORLEANS) – October 21, 2022 – Over the past week, there has been a positive test for avian influenza (also known as “bird flu”) in birds at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo in Monroe, Louisiana.
In an abundance of caution to protect its birds, all Audubon Nature Institute facilities with potentially susceptible species are taking appropriate precautions to protect its birds from potential exposure to the avian flu should it spread to southeast Louisiana via wild migratory birds. The facilities enacting these appropriate biosecurity protocols include Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium, and the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center.
"Audubon is committed to the health and safety of our visitors, our staff, and the animals in our care," said Associate Veterinarian Dan Cutler. "We are taking proactive steps to protect our birds from avian influenza. By limiting access to the aviaries to only our staff, we protect our animals from any contamination that may come from outside our facilities. We are sharing information with the public in keeping with our mission to serve as an educational resource and an environmental guardian.”
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has reported hundreds of positive tests for the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds in several states. Forty-two states have confirmed HPAI in commercial and backyard flocks.
Wildlife and agriculture officials have been closely tracking the highly infectious virus since it was first detected more than 10 months ago in wild birds in North Carolina and South Carolina.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk low for people from such HPAI infections in wild birds.
There have recently been outbreaks at commercial and non-commercial farms in the United States. The CDC says avian influenza does not threaten food safety when proper handling and cooking occur.
It also says avian influenza is not a significant public health concern for healthy people without regular contact with infected birds.
Effective immediately, Audubon Zoo will no longer accept wildlife including birds brought to the facility for rehabilitation.
Audubon Nature Institute is a family of facilities, events, experiences, sustainability initiatives and conservation programs united in the belief that each of us has the power to impact nature and wildlife for the better. This includes Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. We inspire visitors, members and our community to support nature and wildlife — and leave the world better than we found it.