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Wednesday 7 June 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Leon Farrell/ File photo of flamingos
# bird flu fears
Flamingos and penguins among birds taken inside at Dublin Zoo, Fota Wildlife and Belfast Zoo
Three outbreaks of bird flu have been detected in the past three months in Ireland.

LAST UPDATE | Jan 10th 2022, 1:50 PM

DUBLIN ZOO HAS taken a number of their bird indoors over bird flu fears, including the Chilean flamingos and Humboldt penguins.

In November, the Department of Agriculture warned about avian flu, after a number of outbreaks were confirmed in a number of areas across the country.

Three avian flu outbreaks have been notified to the Department in November and December – two in Monaghan and one in Galway.

An egg-laying flock in the Castleblayney area of Monaghan, a wild bird in Oranmore in Galway, and a turkey flock in Monaghan were found to have the virus.

Bird flu is a viral infection that spreads from bird to bird, and can often be fatal. The virus can also be spread by people through contaminated clothing and footwear and insufficient hand hygiene practices.

Avian influenza is a notifiable disease, meaning suspected cases need to be reported to the Department of Agriculture.

Dublin Zoo said in a statement to The Journal: “Following direction from the Department of Agriculture in order to protect the birds at Dublin Zoo, the majority of birds were moved indoors and are off view until further notice.

“The species that cannot be seen by visitors include the Humboldt penguin, ostrich, little egret, peafowl, citron-crested cockatoo, waldrapp ibis, Chilean flamingo and Indian runner duck.”

The Abyssinian ground hornbill can still be seen in their habitat, it added.

Fota Wildlife

Fota Wildlife Park said in a statement that it had put “a number of safeguards” in place on foot of advice of the Department of Agriculture.

Several of the bird species have been moved indoors such as the Humboldt penguin and the Blue-throated macaw. The duck feeder is also closed until further notice, it said.

“These measures have been taken to reduce the risk of the avian influenza spreading from migratory birds to the captive populations in Fota Wildlife Park,” it added.

“The birds will be returned to their habitats once the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine advises it is safe to do so. We will notify visitors via our website when the birds at Fota Wildlife Park are back on view.”

Belfast Zoo 

A spokesperson for Belfast Zoo told The Journal the facility’s “free-roaming bird species have been moved into enclosed habitats” as a precaution against avian flu.

“Belfast Zoo follows strict biosecurity measures as required by the Department of Environment, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEARA) and the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).

“We are home to a range of bird species which can continue be viewed by visitors in their enclosed habitats. To protect against avian influenza, the zoo’s free-roaming bird species have been moved into enclosed habitats.

“We have adopted similar measures against avian influenza in the past,” a statement noted.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

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