Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Precautionary Measures in place to protect Blank Park Zoo’s birds from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

March 2, 2022

Precautionary Measures in place to protect Blank Park Zoo’s birds from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

For Immediate Release
DES MOINES, Iowa (March 2, 2022) Temporary proactive measures are being put in place at Blank Park Zoo to protect avian species that live at the Zoo from H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza. A case of HPAI was found in birds in Potawatomie County in southwestern Iowa. 

“Our highest priority is the health and safety of the animals at Blank Park Zoo,” said Anne Shimerdla, president and CEO. “We are thankful for the support the community provided the Zoo during the pandemic and we are asking for your support and patience with some temporary precautions we must take now to protect birds.”

Following recommendations from the USDA and the state veterinarian’s office, Blank Park Zoo will remain open. Beginning March 3, 2022, the following temporary changes will occur:

  • All avian species will be off-exhibit.
  • The Myron and Jackie Blank Discovery Center will be closed to visitors.
  • Limiting poultry products in food service at Blank Park Zoo.
  • In addition, staff will be implementing many protocols including enhanced disinfection, increased PPE, limiting access to vulnerable species and behind-the-scenes areas as well as other protocols.
  • These protocols will remain in place for a minimum of 30 days after the last reported case in Iowa.

These are precautionary measures and no birds at Blank Park Zoo have been diagnosed with this disease.

According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, avian influenza does not normally infect humans.

“We are implementing these measures to protect the animals that call Blank Park Zoo home,” said Dr. Drew Gall, DVM, Blank Park Zoo veterinarian.

About Blank Park Zoo

The mission of Blank Park Zoo is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education, research and recreation. Zoo hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily. Admission rates are $14 for adults, $8 for children under 12, and $11 for seniors and active military. Children one year and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at http://www.blankparkzoo.com. The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.

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