Bird flu is now subsiding - flamingos see the sun again

Bird flu is now subsiding - flamingos see the sun again

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The bird flu subsides, and in Hagenbeck's zoo in Hamburg more than 600 birds can go outdoors again - including 120 flamingos, pink pelicans and sarus cranes.

Vogelpark Walsrode opens with a full program
The World Bird Park in Walsrode is closed anyway in winter, and he was spared visitors from being able to refuse admission when the bird flu was going around. When he opened the gates on March 18, the birds were already able to go outdoors.

The large free flight hall is also open, and Germany's most spectacular air show starts in the open air with a new concept.

Irreplaceable animals
Infecting birds with the virus in the Walsrode World Bird Park would be a disaster. It is one of the ten largest zoological gardens worldwide in terms of the number of animal species there, breeds diverse species as the only institution in Europe, and some species can only be seen here.

Extremely endangered species
Species that are almost extinct in the wild, such as the cone guan from Mexico, the blue-eyed ibis from Madagascar or the Kagu from New Caledonia have their place here. The blue-eyed ibis can even only be seen here outside of Madagascar, three types of silk cuckoo reproduced here for the first time outside of Madagascar.

There are also various extremely endangered cranes, treasures such as hummingbirds and birds of paradise, palm cockatoos or South American hokkos.

International breeding programs
The World Bird Park coordinates international breeding programs and is instrumental in helping to reintroduce near-extinct species in their original habitats. Infection of the birds living here would be a disaster for global conservation.

Maintenance breeding networks
In order to prevent such a super meltdown, the conservation breeding programs in zoos are globally networked. A plague in a breeding station would therefore not endanger the entire existence of an endangered species.

The virus was rampant for four months
On November 8, 2016, experts first discovered the avian influenza virus H5N8 in dead wild birds. Poultry farmers, for example in Berlin-Lichtenberg, had to put their animals in stables to avoid contact with infected wild birds.

In Hagenbeck's zoo, geese were killed after individual animals in the zoo carried the virus. The bird house remained closed, visitors had to disinfect their shoes before entering the zoo.

Animals came to the winter quarters
The recently completed bird house at the Berlin Zoo on Budapester Straße was also closed to visitors, and in many zoos the animals came to the winter quarters prematurely. They stayed there until the virus withdrew nationwide.

Tropical hall closed to visitors
The tropical hall in the Alfred Brehm House in the Friedrichsfelde zoo was also closed to visitors in winter, as was the crocodile hall with the rare crow's-headed birds.

Some zoological gardens remained closed
The zoo in Kronsberg and the zoos in Ueckermünde and Sassnitz were even completely closed to visitors for months after the disease known as avian influenza raged among the animals there.

Emergency program
Zoological gardens have an emergency program for epidemics such as bird flu, but this varies from facility to facility depending on the species they care for, how and whether they come into contact with wild birds.

Zoos don't have to kill all animals
If an infection is detected, zoo operators do not have to kill the entire bird population, as is otherwise prescribed for poultry farmers.

Less contagion
In contrast to fattening systems, animals in zoos live in different areas that have only limited contact with one another - namely through visitors and zookeepers.

Outbreak of Avian Flu-What You Should Know Now
There is no complete all-clear yet. Some areas on the Alster and Elbe with a high density of wild water birds such as seagulls, geese and ducks are still considered a risk area.

Special permit for Hagenbeck
Hagenbeck's zoo, however, received a special permit from the district office in Eimsbüttel because the risk of infection has dropped significantly. Visitors no longer have to disinfect their shoes.

However, many birds will probably not breed this year because they are too late in the sun and will no longer get into the breeding mood.

The Alster swans in Hamburg are also released outdoors
Across the country, more and more counties and cities are lifting the obligation to have a stable. In Emsland, poultry had to go to the barn on February 1, and this duty ends on April 30.

Cases across Central Europe
In total, there have been 92 outbreaks of avian influenza in Germany since November, and Poland, France, the Netherlands and Hungary have also been affected.

Highly contagious bird flu in the Emsland
In areas such as Altmark or Emsland, where avian influenza occurred, experts still advise cleaning shoes after spending time outdoors, as well as changing equipment and vehicles and regularly changing litter in the stables.

Stable compulsory in Mecklenburg
The longest compulsory stable in Germany is in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Here, some regions are still considered a risk area. Vorpommern-Rügen meanwhile lifted the compulsory stable and Rostock relaxed it.

How did bird flu get to Germany?
How bird flu came to Germany is controversial. The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut supports the thesis that wild birds spread the virus.

Industrial poultry farming - a viral paradise?
On the contrary, many ornithologists believe that the flu would have spread to industrial livestock farms and that wild birds would have become infected there. (Dr. Utz Anhalt / Somayeh Khaleseh Ranjbar)

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