Zoo takes mea­sures to ward off avian flu threat

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS -

PREVENTATIVE mea­sures have been im­ple­mented at the Na­tional Zoo­log­i­cal Gar­dens of South Africa (NZG) in Pre­to­ria af­ter the re­cent out­break of avian in­fluenza in ar­eas neigh­bour­ing the city, spokesper­son Craig Al­lenby said yes­ter­day.

Al­lenby said no cases of the virus had been found at the NZG.

How­ever, he said there was “cause for con­cern” and there­fore the fa­mous zoo has in­creased its own bio-se­cu­rity mea­sures.

“We have moved en­dan­gered bird species, like the cranes that were in open en­clo­sures, into cov­ered aviaries to pre­vent their in­ter­ac­tion with wild bird species. The risk of trans­fer of the virus is in­creased through con­tact with wild birds,” said Al­lenby.

The NZG is also in the process of in­tro­duc­ing ad­di­tional cov­ers to pre­vent other species from hav­ing con­tact with wild birds where aviaries are not avail­able.

“All ve­hi­cles en­ter­ing the zoo are treated with an anti-vi­ral dis­in­fec­tant to pre­vent the virus from en­ter­ing the zoo.

“Foot­baths have also been in­tro­duced at the main en­trance for the vis­i­tors to use on their ar­rival. The dis­in­fec­tant is not harm­ful to hu­mans,” he said.

Ad­di­tional con­ser­va­tion man­age­ment prac­tices have also been im­ple­mented to pre­vent any cross-con­tam­i­na­tion or spread, should the virus en­ter the zoo. – ANA

The en­trance to the Na­tional Zoo­log­i­cal Gar­dens in Pre­to­ria.

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