Hogle Zoo quarantines birds due to the spreading Avian Flu

Apr 26, 2022, 6:41 PM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 1:59 pm

SALT LAKE CITY –  The decision was an easy one.

When Zea Colley asked her daughter where she wanted to go for her birthday, Hogle Zoo was at the top of her list.

“We love it,” Colley said. “The kids love all of it, every time we come, some animal is doing something new, so you have to come a lot to see it all.”

New animals like the two baby leopards who made their first appearance at the zoo last week.

They join the popular giraffes, elephants, and zebras that have become tradition at the zoo to see.

“I think they love everything,” Colley said with a laugh.

However, for as many times as they’ve been to Hogle Zoo on their season pass, this time there are animals they couldn’t see.

“I think it’s a good thing that they have the birds safe. I don’t think it detracts from the zoo at all,” Colley said.

The Avian Flu is flying its way across the country.

Two cases have already been confirmed in Utah, the first was in Utah County and the second in Cache County.

So, to keep its birds safe, Hogle Zoo decided to drain its pond and other water features to keep birds from gathering and close some bird exhibits.

“We already had an avian influenza response plan in place. It’s 11 pages long,”  Dr. Erika Crook said, who is the Director of Animal Health at Hogle Zoo.

Part of that plan was to move bird species that are more susceptible to avian flu into separate indoor housing.

Bird species like bald eagles, vultures, barn owls, and hawks are now safe from the outdoors.

“The way our collections, our birds, are going to get avian influenza is through ducks and geese that naturally carry it in their body,” Dr. Crook said. “They’re just flying over and then they might defecate or have some bodily secretion that could affect our collection.”

So far, no birds at Hogle Zoo have tested positive for avian flu.

It’s a plan many people who come here, like Colley and her family, understand.

“We hardly noticed,” Colley said. “Like, there’s so much to see, it didn’t really make a difference on the trip or anything.”

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Hogle Zoo quarantines birds due to the spreading Avian Flu