DCHS asks for donations to put toward bird flu testing, rehabilitation efforts

Duckling
Courtesy of the Dane County Humane Society

MADISON, Wis. — The Dane County Humane Society’s Wildlife Center is asking the public for donations to help pay for tests so staff can treat wild birds that are at risk for highly pathogenic avian influenza, or bird flu.

In mid-March, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection officials confirmed the bird flu had made its way to a commercial poultry flock in Jefferson County. It was the first time the flu was detected in Wisconsin since 2015. The virus has been detected in 13 counties throughout the state and has gone on to infect at least three wild foxes.

DCHS’s Wildlife Center has since admitted a duckling and baby fox that have both tested positive for bird flu, but group leaders say rehabilitation efforts could be limited if staff members don’t have the needed tests and equipment.

While bird flu primarily affects birds, it can also spread to humans or other animals that come in contact with infected birds. Wild species like ducks, geese, swans, raptors, crows, ravens, gulls, pelicans, cranes, loons and egrets are especially at risk for catching the virus.

RELATED: Bird flu found in flocks in two more Wisconsin counties

Because DCHS’s Wildlife Center is the only bird rehabilitation center in Southwest Wisconsin and one of only a few for wild mammals, hundreds of birds and animals could go without care. DCHS staff said if they don’t get the needed equipment and tests needed to manage bird flu, they may not be able to care for those at-risk species.

That’s why the organization is asking the public for help to raise $5,000 to pay for bird flu tests, additional PPE, quarantine housing supplies, and additional sanitation items to make sure other animals in DCHS’s care don’t get infected.

Anyone looking to contribute to the Wildlife Center’s efforts can donate online. Gifts of any size will be matched up to $5,000, thanks to a commitment from the Werndli Charitable Trust. Matched gifts must be made by May 31, 2022.