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Seoul Zoo reopens this week

Posted March. 28, 2017 07:30,   

Updated March. 28, 2017 07:34


The Seoul Grand Park Zoo and Seoul Children’s Grand Park Zoo in Gwangjin-gu are reopened this week after 100 days when they were temporarily closed as some birds at the zoos tested positive for avian influenza (AI) last December.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said on Monday that the two zoos will be reopened on March 30 as no further issues were detected during the in-depth inspection that lasted for three months. According to the city government, the Seoul Grand Park Zoo has taken tests and other thorough inspections by the National Institute of Environmental Research under the Environment Ministry immediately after the AI outbreak and all have been negative in final.

The Seoul city decided to temporarily shut down the zoo after two storks at a breeding site were found dead in succession on December 17, 2016. One week later, a black-faced spoonbill that was recognized as a natural monument was also found dead on December 24, 2016. They were all found to be infected with AI.

The Seoul city closed the zoo and began to investigate infection in all birds within the facility for five weeks according to the manual. Also, the city conducted a test for three weeks by raising uninfected birds together with other birds at the zoo to detect any abnormalities.

The zoos met the requirements for reopening early this month as all tested negative in final. However, the foot and mouth disease has occurred. The city finally decided to reopen the zoos after the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs downgraded the foot and mouth disease alert level from “severe” to “high.”

However, the Seoul city government decided not to open the breeding site until things calmed down as the AI alert is still lasted at the highest level.

Seng-Hyun Kang byhuman@donga.com