ASHEBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina Zoo says it’s closing its aviary permanently.
Calling it a “heart-wrenching decision,” zoo officials said Thursday that the necessary repairs due to high humidity and wet conditions are too expensive.
The 40-year-old domed structure has been closed since January because of threats from Avian flu, though none of the zoo’s birds has tested positive for the virus.
The building will be removed and a total of 93 birds from 33 species are either being rehomed at other facilities that are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, or moved to other parts of the zoo.
“The free-flying birds and tropical plants served as an oasis for many people — guests and staff alike,” Zoo Director Pat Simmons said. “It was a heart-wrenching decision to close the Aviary; however, safety is our highest priority.”
Officials said the closure will not cost any employees their jobs, though some staff may be reassigned.
There are more than 2,000 plants from 450 species that also live in the aviary, and zoo officials say they are working on the logistics of their removal.