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Vienna zoo culls 20 pelicans to stop bird flu

Staff Writer | March 11, 2017
An Austrian zoo culled 20 pelicans on Friday after it found the entire group was infected with the H5N8 bird flu virus.
Schoenbrunn Zoo
Austria   Schoenbrunn Zoo tested its pelican flock
Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo tested its pelican flock, one of the largest of any zoo worldwide, after the virus was found in one pelican earlier this week.

The virus has spread widely across Europe and the Middle East since late last year, leading to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of poultry and the confinement of flocks indoors.

The zoo's Dalmatian pelicans had been kept in a tent since December as a preventive measure but one of them became acutely ill on Monday and was killed.

"To protect the remaining bird stock we had to put down all pelicans this morning," zoo veterinarian Thomas Voracek said.

The bird house, the rainforest house and the desert house at the zoo will remain closed to the public.