A few of our favorite friends at the North Carolina Zoo are going to have to find a new home. The North Carolina Zoo announced Thursday that they will be permanently closing the Aviary Habitat. Yes Weekly reported the announcement of the 40-year-old domed structure closing at the zoo. The decision to close the habitat came from Zoo leadership and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
What and Why
According to Yes Weekly, the structure requires significant repairs due to the effects over time of humidity and wet conditions. “For 40 years, the Zoo’s Aviary offered a special place to connect with nature,” North Carolina Zoo Director Pat Simmons told Yes Weekly. “The free-flying birds and tropical plants served as an oasis for many people – guests and staff alike. It was a heart-wrenching decision to close the Aviary; however, safety is our highest priority.”
The habitat consists of 93 birds of 33 species that will be moved to other parts of the zoo or to other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facilities. Yes Weekly also reports that more than 2000 plants of 450 species live in the Aviary. The zoo is working on further arrangements for removing the plant collections from the habitat.
Employees working in the habitat will not lose their jobs but be reassigned to new parts of the zoo. “It is truly an immersive habitat, and guests often remarked that they felt as though they were really in a tropical forest. To hear the swoosh of a Victoria Crowned Pigeon as it flies by is magical,” said the Zoo’s Curator of Birds, Debbie Zombeck to Yes Weekly.
The habitat closed January 2022 due to recent threats of the Highly Pathogenic Avian influenza (HPAI). None of the zoo’s birds tested positive for the virus. Now, the zoo plans to take down the building completely. There are no immediate plans to rebuild the habitat.
Source: Yes Weekly