Important zoo update: protecting our birds against avian influenza

Honeycreeper at Marwell Zoo

Great news! Our Energy for Life: Tropical House and walkthrough aviaries will reopen to guests tomorrow (Friday 18 March) at 11am!

Updated 17/03/22

Following the confirmed case of avian flu near Bishops Waltham, strict measures remain in place in accordance with national legislation to protect our birds and prevent any future spread of the disease.

  • Additional handwashing, sanitisers, foot mats and foot dips have been put in place at all entrance and exit points to the zoo as well as our walkthrough areas.  If you see these on your journey through the zoo, please use them.
  • We have to record the contact details of all guests to the zoo including members so everyone must BOOK ONLINE for the correct date.
  • If you keep captive birds at home, who are usually outdoors, please postpone your visit to us.

Thank you so much for your understanding. We can’t wait to see you soon!

We have introduced precautionary measures to protect our birds from avian influenza following a confirmed case near Bishops Waltham.

Updated 10/02/2022

The zoo is currently outside the declared protection zone but within a 10km radius surveillance zone. 

Although we are currently free of the virus in the zoo, we are taking strict measures in accordance with national legislation and guidance to keep our birds safe and help prevent any potential spread of the disease. 

Energy for Life: Tropical House and walkthrough aviaries are closed to the public until further notice, while additional precautions have been taken to reduce contact with wild birds. This means species such as our Linne’s two-toed sloth, crocodile monitor, and Javan chevrotain will also be off-show.

The avian flu restrictions come as the latest setback for us as a conservation charity after the coronavirus pandemic meant we had to close for a total of 9 months.

Our Chief Executive, James Cretney, said: “This couldn’t have come at a worse time for us. Just as we’re trying to get back on our feet for what we hoped would be the first normal year since 2019, we learned that like many other businesses, we are now part of an Avian Influenza Surveillance Zone following a confirmed case in Bishops Waltham. 

“Whilst the welfare of our large bird collection is a priority, this will no doubt be disappointing news for many of our guests. We thank all our guests and members for their support and hope they will continue to visit us during this time. 

“Marwell is home to more than 140 exotic and endangered species and over 2,500 animals, so there’s lots to see. Please do be mindful, however, that it is winter, and our animals have the freedom to choose where they are throughout the day, so it may be they are indoors, where most are still viewable. We advise our guests to consider Marwell to be like a walking safari and to spend 4-5 hours exploring our 140-acre park, giving them the best opportunity to see the animals.” 

Avian flu is a disease that spreads among birds and this winter season has seen the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) diagnose more cases than in any previous UK outbreak. An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was put in place across Great Britain on 3 November last year followed by the requirement to house all poultry on 29 November. 

Marwell is home to critically endangered species such as blue-crowned laughing thrushes and swift parrots in addition to birds such as Humboldt penguins and flamingos. 

Our Veterinary Services Manager, Dr Sarah Jayne Smith, added: “You will notice that some areas of the zoo are temporarily closed, to reduce the risk associated with contact between people and our birds. 

“Additional hand sanitisers, foot mats, and foot dips have been put in place at all entrance points to the zoo. If you see one of these on your journey through the zoo, please use it. If you keep captive birds at home, who are usually outdoors, please postpone your visit to us.”  

Both guests and members are urged to book online ahead of their visit while we continue to restrict numbers. Thank you for your patience and understanding.