WATCH NOW: NC Zoo closes aging aviary | Local

ASHEBORO — The N.C. Zoo plans to permanently close its Aviary Habitat, citing concerns about the aging facility that houses nearly 100 birds and more than 2,000 plants.

The 40-year-old domed structure, built in the 1980s, requires significant repairs due to the effects of high humidity and wet conditions, the zoo said Thursday in a news release. Zoo leadership and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources made the decision to permanently close the structure.

A visitor takes a picture of one of the nearly 100 birds at the N.C. Zoo’s aviary.

The aviary has been closed since Jan. 24 due to concerns about the highly contagious avian flu, although the zoo said none of its birds has tested positive for the virus.

Animals will be moved to other parts of the zoo or rehomed at other accredited zoo facilities. The flora also will be relocated somewhere on the zoo’s 2,600 wooded acres. The aviary building will be torn down.

Zoo Director Pat Simmons said the aviary has “offered a special place to connect with nature.”

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“The free-flying birds and tropical plants served as an oasis for many people — guests and staff alike,” Simmons said in the release. “It was a heart-wrenching decision to close the Aviary; however, safety is our highest priority.”

The zoo said no staff members will lose their jobs over the closure, but some may be reassigned elsewhere in the zoo as plans are developed for changes in the animal and plant collections.

There are no immediate plans to rebuild the aviary, and future plans will require further study and budgetary considerations, the zoo said.


The N.C. Zoo’s Aviary Habitat includes a bird identification station.


Visitors get up close and personal with a bird in the N.C. Zoo’s aviary.


Victoria crowned pigeons at the N.C. Zoo in Asheboro.


A Victoria crowned pigeon and chick rest on a bench in the aviary at the N.C. Zoo in Asheboro.


A female eclectus parrot perches on one of the many trees at the N.C. Zoo in Asheboro.

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