ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene Zoo reported a case of bird flu within its bird population Friday. Just days earlier, many birds were removed from display out of caution for the disease.

The zoo said it’s been closely monitoring the viral respiratory disease outbreak of Avian Influenza (HPAI). This spring, three cases were reported in Texas and the Abilene Zoo took necessary steps to protect its birds.

Just as latest safety measures were being put in place, the zoo said a crested screamer – a water fowl – was found deceased. The zoo said it was a sudden and unexpected death so the veterinary team tested the bird for HPAI. It was reported that initial testing came back negative, but another lab, as well as the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, confirmed the case.

Because of the presence of bird flu within the Abilene Zoo, it is unknown when the birds will be back on display.

“Our birds are currently under a state mandated quarantine. Once that is completed and we as a veterinary team deem it safe, we will allow the birds to return to public display.” said Dr. Stephanie Carle, Abilene Zoo Senior Veterinarian. “I am honored to work with the team here at the Abilene Zoo. They implemented our action plans quickly and effectively. We will be monitoring our immediate area and the State of Texas before making any further changes to our response plan.”

This flu is largely transmitted through direct bird-to-bird contact and risk of infection is extremely low, the zoo assured. However, staff is still taking precautions to promote safety for all.