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The North Carolina Zoo's aviary is closing permanently

North Carolina Zoo
The R.J. Reynolds Forest Aviary was home to 93 birds of 33 different species, such as the Victoria crowned pigeons pictured here. It also featured more than 2,000 plants of 450 species.

The North Carolina Zoo is closingits aviary permenantly.

The high humidity indoor environment required for the exhibit had taken its toll on the 40-year-old structure, which was in need of significant repairs, zoo officials said Thursday.

All but a few of the 93 birds of 33 species, such as flamingos and parrots, will be relocated to other certified facilities.

"Probably the biggest thing we have to do is catch the birds in the aviary," said Debbie Zombeck with the North Carolina Zoo. "We have feed stations set up in what we call trap cage enclosures.. They’re maybe 12-by-12 feet in diameter and the birds are used to going in there to feed every day. And then we have a door that we can pull down real quickly when the right bird goes inside. And that’s how we trap them and then transport them down to one of our holding facilities".

About 10 birds are staying, Zombeck said. Some will be relocated to the desert habitat at the zoo, and a few older birds will retire to the off-exhibit breeding facility.

The aviary has been closed since Jan. 24 as a precaution against the avian flu that’s been detected in wild birds and poultry in the state.

The habitat has also been home to 450 species of plants.

According to a news release, no zoo staff will lose their jobs, but some may be reassigned.

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Jeanne is a producer for All Things Considered on WFAE. She previously worked at NPR member station WUGA in Athens, Georgia, where se graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism. Jeanne originally grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia.