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Russian Zoo Euthanizes Protected Birds After Suspected Avian Flu Outbreak

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A zoo in the Russian city of Voronezh has been forced to kill all of its birds after a suspected outbreak of avian flu.

A number of birds at the zoo died of a rapidly-spreading infection during the New Year holidays, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. The decision to euthanize all remaining animals was announced in a statement by the local prosecutor's office on Sunday.

The zoo had been home to 159 different birds of 44 different species, seven of which are protected by Russian law.

In November, Russia announced that two outbreaks of the highly contagious H5 strain of avian flu had infected wildlife in the county's southwestern Kalmyk republic. A further two outbreaks were recorded in December on poultry farms in Krasnodar and Rostov, although the exact strain was not identified.

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