Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: February 11, 2022 7:55 pm
One of the birds which is being protected by Avian influenza precautions at Marwell Zoo
Photo Credit: Marwell Zoo
Marwell Zoo have introduced measures to protect their bird collection due to outbreaks of avian influenza in the local area. The decision comes following a number of United Kingdom collections being affected by both Avian influenza and avian malaria in recent months.
The zoo sits outside of a declared protection zone established following a positive case in Bishops Waltham but is within the 10km radius surveillance zone.
At present no cases are suspected within the zoos collection. To ensure this continues they have closed the Energy for Life: Tropical House and walkthrough aviaries to the public, while additional precautions have been taken to reduce contact with wild birds.
These closures mark another setback for the conservation charity which last year spent 9 months closed due to coronavirus restrictions.
Marwell Zoo’s Chief Executive James Cretney, said: “This couldn’t have come at a worse time for us. Just as we’re trying to get back on our feet for what we hoped would be the first normal year since 2019, we learned that like many other businesses, we are now part of an Avian Influenza Surveillance Zone following a confirmed case in Bishops Waltham."
“Whilst the welfare of our large bird collection is a priority, this will no doubt be disappointing news for many of our guests. We thank all our guests and members for their support and hope they will continue to visit us during this time."
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“Marwell is home to more than 140 exotic and endangered species and over 2,500 animals, so there’s lots to see. Please do be mindful, however, that it is winter and our animals have the freedom to choose where they are throughout the day, so it may be they are indoors, where most are still viewable. We advise our guests to consider Marwell to be like a walking safari and to spend 4-5 hours exploring our 140 acre park, giving them the best opportunity to see the animals.”
Avian influenza is spread between birds and this winter has seen one of the worst UK outbreaks on record.
At Marwell Zoo precautions are important to protect the critically endangered species such as blue-crowned laughing thrushes and swift parrots in addition to birds such as Humboldt penguins and flamingos.
Marwell’s Veterinary Services Manager Dr Sarah Jayne Smith, added: “You will notice that some areas of the zoo are temporarily closed, to reduce the risk associated with contact between people and our birds.
“Additional hand sanitisers, foot mats and foot dips have been put in place at all entrance points to the zoo. If you see one of these on your journey through the zoo, please use it. If you keep captive birds at home, who are usually outdoors, please postpone your visit to us.”