Noah’s Ark remains closed; the community reminisces about school field trips

Community reacts to closure of Noah's Ark
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 5:57 PM EDT
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LOCUST GROVE, Ga. (CBS46) - An animal sanctuary in Henry County remains closed after state health officials detected bird flu on the property. Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary has been in the community for nearly 30 years.

The gates to the facility were closed to public once again on Tuesday with no clear indication of how long the facility would remain shuttered.

Some members of the community stopped by to see what’s going on. James H. Walker says his daughter visited Noah’s Ark when she was a child during a school visit.

“This is a great place for the children for generations this has been a place that they can come and learn about the animals and sit and walk and be with the animals,” said James H. Walker.

The facility closed to the public last Thursday. Since then, teams from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, and USDA have been on scene testing the bird population. Some of the birds are being euthanized.

“That’s sad. It’s totally sad. It’s unimaginable. It’s unimaginable. There are beautiful birds here,” said Walker.

While avian flu can be deadly to the bird population, it isn’t a major threat to people.

“H5N1 bird flu has been detected in wild birds and poultry off and on in the United States since late 2021. CDC considers the risk to the general public from currently circulating avian influenza viruses to be low,” said the the CDC on Tuesday in a statement to CBS46.

State Sen. Emanuel Jones is a member of the Henry County delegation. He says containing this virus is top priority.

“I think that it’s important that the state be aggressive in eradicating this virus that’s been detected down at this facility. And that we take all appropriate measures to be sure that it’s detained,” said Sen. Emanuel Jones of District 10 (D).

CBS46 reached out to the Department of Agriculture to see find out how many birds have been euthanized, but a representative said they didn’t have a definitive number. The agency also couldn’t confirm how long they plan to be on site.