Popcorn Park Animal Refuge in Ocean County has been forced to euthanize 80 birds after an outbreak of avian flu.
The refuge will also remain closed through Friday, it announced on its Facebook page. The refuge said both the closure and the culling of the birds stem from a duck and goose that died last week and later tested positive for bird flu.
“This led to an investigation by the USDA and State Department of Agriculture. Their determination was that 80 of our chickens, ducks, and domestic geese had to be euthanized to prevent further spread of the disease,” the sanctuary wrote.
During the closure, Popcorn Park said, it is sanitizing and implementing “bio security” measures at its facility. When it reopens Saturday, it will not sell peanuts or popcorn, will have foot bathmats for people entering and exiting the ticket booth, and will provide hand sanitizing stations throughout the facility.
Avian flu is naturally found in aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry, which poses the risk of highly contagious viral mutations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Though rare, bird flu can spread to humans, the CDC says. It can also spread to other mammals, including domestic cats and dogs.
This year, bird flu has affected more than 4.6 million commercial and backyard poultry, according to the CDC. It has also been detected in one person.