Birds Are Back at the Philadelphia Zoo

Caribbean flamingos are just one of the bird species you will see again at the Philadelphia Zoo.
Image via the Philadelphia Zoo.

Guests of the Philadelphia Zoo can once again see Humboldt penguins, Caribbean flamingos, emus, southern ground hornbills and many other bird species at the zoo’s outside 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 taken throughout the Zoo to protect the health of its birds from HPAI.

As the Zoo continues to monitor the threat of HPAI, some birds are back on display for guests. 

“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,” says Donna Ialeggio, the Zoo’s director of Animal Health.

Everything done at the Philadelphia Zoo revolves around the well-being of the animals, and science-based decisions are made about the management of animal health and safety. That means being able to evolve as situations change, explains Ialeggio.

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’s animal care and veterinary teams will continue to closely monitor HPAI in wild birds since cases in the area may increase again as the fall migration approaches.

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.

“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.”

Upcoming Events

An Evening in the Gardens event Oct. 6, 5 to 9 p.m. honors F. William “Bill” McNabb III, a champion of education and global conservation efforts, who has been involved with the Zoo for more than 15 years.  You can find out more here.

Boo at the Zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo’s annual Halloween extravaganza, runs three weekends Oct. 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30. Come dressed in your favorite costume and trick-or-treat around the Zoo while enjoying seasonal décor, photo opportunities, festive fall offering, children’s activities and more.           You can find out more here.  

About the Philadelphia Zoo.

The Philadelphia Zoo is America’s first zoo, known for its innovation in animal care and its commitment to wildlife. 

The Zoo opened July 1, 1874.

It was the first zoo in the world to build an on-site animal care center and was the first to build a Children’s Zoo.

Today, it is home to more than 1,700 rare and endangered animals.

Find out more about the Philadelphia Zoo.  

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