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Humboldt Penguin Philadelphia Zoo

Philadelphia Zoo’s Birds Return to Outdoor Exhibits

As the Zoo continues to monitor the threat of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, some birds like penguins, flamingos, emus, hornbills, and more are now visible to guests.

Philadelphia Zoo is pleased to announce that its Humboldt penguins, Caribbean flamingos, emus, southern ground hornbills, and many other bird species have returned to their outdoor exhibits. For many months, the Zoo’s animal care and veterinary teams have been closely monitoring cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) among wild birds along the Atlantic flyway, a major North American route for spring and fall bird migrations. Extensive precautions were implemented throughout the Zoo to protect the health of our birds from HPAI.

“Everything that we do at the Philadelphia Zoo revolves around the well-being of the animals in our care,” says Dr. Donna Ialeggio, the Zoo’s Director of Animal Health. “We make science-based decisions about the management of animal health and safety that must be able to evolve as situations change. We are very happy that based on our ongoing HPAI assessments, we are now able to return many of our birds to their preferred Zoo habitats.”

“I’m extremely proud of the way the zoo keepers, veterinarians, curators and facilities teams came together to reach a common goal: protect the health and well-being of the animals under our care,” says Rachel Metz, Vice President of Animal Well-being. “The Zoo’s HPAI response has been a concerted effort on many levels and we are happy to be able to step down some of our biosecurity measures and return our beloved birds back to their exhibits for our guests to enjoy.”

Birds of prey, like bald eagles, vultures, barn owls, and caracaras, will continue to be housed in protective spaces, as this particular strain of HPAI appears to cause much more severe disease in wild birds of prey than in many other species. The Zoo is working on modifications to their existing outdoor exhibits for them to return. Parts of the Zoo’s walk-through exhibits in McNeil Avian Center and Wings of Asia are still closed to guests.

The Zoo’s animal care and veterinary teams will continue to closely monitor HPAI in wild birds as we approach the fall migration, when cases in the area may increase again.

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