Exmoor Zoo is seriously worried about the spread and the severity of this avian influenza epidemic. This is very poignant with us due to the entire loss of our penguins from avian malaria a few years ago!

Bio-security precautions have been in place since spring and we have become more diligent due the recent outbreaks in Tiverton in Mid-Devon. The declaration of the Avian Influenza zone by the Animal Plant & Health Agency veterinarians does not come as a surprise and we are well prepared for this. Zoos and poultry farmers have had to contend with what is usually a normal winter problem since 2008. The most worrying aspect of this epidemic (like Paignton Zoo who have a case on site) is the impact and the required culling of any infected birds and possibly any of those associated with them on the premises.

At the moment we are in a drought and that has meant our natural water levels in the zoo are very low discouraging visiting waterfowl and the herring gulls from the coastline. We are unable to net over the and protect our central lake with our pelicans due to its size and are we will have to rely on our diligence and discouragement of these birds from visiting. Much easier this time of year than in the winter when their search for food drives them to our premises.

So, if you visit and see our keepers discouraging the stay of ducks or gulls can we apologise in advance. We are only reverting to these tactics out of necessity as we have to do our best to protect some of the rare and endangered avian species we have here as a conservation trust and charity.

Our thoughts go out to Paignton Zoo as the APHA veterinarians scientifically consider the containment necessary to stop the spread of what is a devastating avian epidemic and to everybody endeavouring to create the best bio-security measures they can achieve to protect their stock. If you want to visit and keep poultry or birds can we respectfully ask that you ensure you change your footwear in your car before visiting or request our spray disinfectant for your footwear on arrival. Please note that at this pandemic level we still have some free range domestic birds in the zoo grounds.

See more from Exmoor Zoo

Enjoy a day out Exmoor Zoo, one of the “West-country’s hidden gems” on the edge of the National Park. Here you can experience a truly unique rural zoo set into a valley in North Devon. Discover rare and unusual animals seldom found in other zoos like Sand Cats, Binturong and…