ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — The Abilene Zoo says they are taking precautions to protect their birds after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported a case of avian flu in Texas on Sunday.

Zoo officials say they have been closely monitoring the recent outbreak of avian influenza (HPAI), a viral respiratory disease in birds.

On Sunday, the USDA reported a case of avian flu in Erath County, a little more than 100 miles east of Abilene.

The zoo says they are taking immediate steps to protect the birds in their care, including removing some birds from outdoor habitats where the risk of exposure to wild birds is elevated, and stopping the wild bird feeding stations in hopes of reducing the number of wild birds in or around the zoo.

The Bird Rehabilitation Center will remain operational, but will be using personal protective equipment and strategies to prevent cross contamination to their collection from other birds brought in to the center.

In a news release issued late Monday afternoon, the zoo provided the following details regarding the disease:

The severity of avian influenza can range from a mild infection to a much more acute, contagious illness that can be fatal to birds. Wild birds, especially ducks and geese, are natural carriers of influenza type A viruses and generally have no illness. However, under certain circumstances, certain strains such as the current H5N1 subtype, cause outbreaks in wild birds and can have devastating effects. The virus is predominantly transmitted through direct bird-to bird contact and the risks to humans are small. As a precaution, for the health and well-being of our birds, we are relocating those that may potentially have direct contact with wild waterfowl to behind-the-scenes areas where they are more protected. Those include geese, whooping cranes, marabou storks, African crowned cranes, flamingos and other members of our bird collection. We will also be taking additional precautions with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other strategies to mitigate risk to the birds. The zoo consistently surveys Zoo and wild birds for this disease and there have been no positive results for HPAI to date. Abilene Zoo leadership and our veterinary team will continue to monitor the situation and make additional decisions as the outbreak continues. Though we don’t have a specific timeline for how long this will endure, we hope that all birds will be back in their outdoor habitats this summer.