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A case of avian flu triggers protocols for Miller Park Zoo

The akikiki bird is endangered and only found on Kauai.
Courtesy Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project
Zoos in Bloomington and Peoria are enacting mitigations to keep birds safe from Avian flu.

A case of avian influenza – better known as bird flu – has surfaced in McLean County.

The Miller Park Zoo is taking precautions to make sure their bird population remains safe from the highly pathogenic virus. Zoo superintendent Jay Tetzloff said the facility has enacted protocols to protect against potential spread.

“So that means all of our birds that are outside either come under cover, or come inside,” Tetzloff said.

Jay Tetzloff at podium
Facebook/Miller Park Zoo
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Jay Tetzloff is the superintendent of Miller Park Zoo

That means for now, the only birds that can be seen at the zoo are those in the tropical rainforest exhibit. The zoo requests that all visitors take a little extra care in viewing the birds by making sure to wipe off their shoes before entering.

Tetzloff isn’t sure how long the protocols will be in place.

“The rest of the birds are off exhibit until we are past this wonderful thing called avian influenza,” he said.

In a statement, the Peoria Zoo said it’s undertaking similar precautions.

Tetzloff said while avian flu does present a risk to birds, at this time there is no threat to the human population.

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Sarah Nardi is a WGLT reporter. She previously worked for the Chicago Reader covering Arts & Culture.
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