Due to the presence of a strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in central Kansas, confirmed by the Kansas Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Lee Richardson Zoo is closing the outdoor walk-through aviary flight to public access until further notice.
While most of the zoo birds are still in their off-exhibit, temperature-controlled winter home, this step helps protect the birds that are in the flight.
HPAI is primarily carried by birds, mainly migratory waterfowl. Although it is a zoonotic disease, according to the CDC, avian influenza (bird flu) does not spread easily from animals to humans. It can be dangerous for some of the zoo animals, which is why Lee Richardson Zoo is implementing its HPAI response plan to protect the animals, staff, and guests.
Staff will be taking other steps in conjunction with the closure (i.e., wearing personal protective equipment while caring for the birds, etc.). Once the threat has subsided, the flight will be reopened.
For more information on avian influenza in Kansas, please visit the Kansas Department of Agriculture website (agriculture.ks.gov).