Our Houston Zoo is committed to the health and safety of the animals in our care and has been monitoring the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which can cause severe illness and death in many bird species. The virus is most common in waterfowl and poultry but can spread to other species through their mucous, saliva, and feces. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this type of avian influenza virus usually does not infect people.
On April 3, the Texas Animal Health Commission and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the first cases of HPAI in North Texas.
Due to the risk this poses to the birds under our care at the Zoo, we are immediately moving some of our more susceptible birds into safe indoor areas and making other changes to our programming and experiences to ensure the health and safety of our animals. We have closed the Savanna Aviary in South America’s Pantanal, and educational experiences and programs involving birds will be suspended. Our animal care staff has implemented heightened safety protocols in indoor bird habitats until the risk to our animals subsides.
We will continue to closely monitor this situation and share further communications and adjust our operations as needed to prioritize the health and safety of our animals and guests.