WHISTLING DUCK AVIAN CHOLERA ADVISORY:
According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, some birds from the most recent annual migration of wild black-bellied whistling ducks to the Greater New Orleans area have tested positive for avian cholera. This naturally occurring bacteria can result in death, especially when the bird is stressed, such as at the end of migration. Historically, whistling ducks have overwintered in water bodies in our region, including Audubon Zoo and Audubon Park ponds.
Audubon Nature Institute is working with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to manage avian cholera by reducing sources of potential contamination. Audubon’s veterinary team has noticed a recent increase in wild whistling duck mortality in Audubon Zoo and has sent samples out for testing. Out of an abundance of caution, Audubon is implementing new protocols to reduce the risk of contamination in our bird populations, including closing the Zoo’s aviary to the public and moving waterfowl out of the South American Pampas Lagoon.
Danger of infection to and from companion animals such as dogs and cats appears to be low, but you should always monitor your pet’s health and behavior. Pets may carry this type of bacteria but do not seem to be a source of infection for wild birds or humans. Although dogs are susceptible to strains found in birds, infections rarely result in illness or death.According to the Field Manual of Wildlife Disease by the National Wildlife Health Center,
avian cholera is not
considered a high-risk disease for humans. This is because there are many different strains of the bacteria, and humans don’t appear to be very susceptible to the avian strain. Rare cases of avian cholera in humans have been documented, however, so please do not pick up or handle dead wildlife. Common signs of avian cholera in birds are erratic flight, loss of head control (floppy necks), and mucous discharge from the nasal openings.
Please contact 504-212-5151 if you see distressed or deceased birds in Audubon Park. Click here
for more information about avian cholera.