Saskatoon

Saskatoon Zoo takes precautions amid avian flu detection in Sask.

The Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo is moving its birds indoors as a precautionary measure from a highly pathogenic strain of the avian flu.

Birds have been moved indoors as a safety precaution and were tested this week

Snow geese are one of the few wild birds being affected by this strain of the avian flu. (Idaho Department of Fish and Game )

The Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo has temporarily moved some of its birds indoors after the avian flu was detected in Saskatchewan last week. 

Birds at the zoo have been tested and are currently awaiting results. 

Saskatoon zoo operations manager Jeff Mitchell said none of the birds at the zoo are affected at this time. 

"We are pretty confident that we pulled the birds off in time before it got this far," Mitchell said. 

The Ministry of Agriculture reminds people to keep their poultry flocks away from wild birds to reduce the spread of avian influenza. (Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)

Mitchell first heard about the avian flu affecting birds south of the border just over two months ago. The Saskatoon zoo started planning for the bird flu about a month ago in case it were to make its way to the province. 

"Our biggest thing, obviously, is bringing our birds indoors so there's no contact with wild birds at all," said Mitchell. 

Mitchell says the Saskatoon zoo will not be comfortable putting the birds on exhibit until 90 days from the last positive test in the province.

This means the birds will not be visible for most — if not all — of summer. 

Some of those birds include the bald eagle, snowy owls, red-tail hawk, barn owl and the great horned owl. 

In a release Friday, the Ministry of Agriculture reminded poultry producers to follow the necessary protocols to keep their flocks free of disease.

The HPAI strain of the avian influenza detected in a wild bird in Saskatchewan earlier this week has resulted in the deaths of many snow geese, Canada geese and other wild birds. 

Trevor Herriot, a naturalist and bird expert, is urging people to keep their farmyard birds away from wild geese. 

Herriot says people need to make sure they are taking the right precautions when interacting with dead or sick birds. 

"If there's any carcasses around, be careful if you're intending to clean them up and you just don't want to be passing on that pathogen to your own laying hens or other barnyard birds," said Herriot. 

The risk of transmission to humans is considered low, but people are warned not to touch dead birds or wildlife with bare hands. 

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