Comparison Between Standard Zoo Quarantine Practices and Risk-Based Analysis at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: A Retrospective Analysis of Avian Data, 2013–2016
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2017
Kanyon M. McLean1, DVM; Geoffrey W. Pye2, BVSc, MSc, DACZM
1College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA; 2Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Bay Lake, FL, USA. Present address (McLean): VCA Valley Animal Hospital and Emergency Center, Tucson, AZ, USA


Beginning January 1, 2016, all animals were transferred into Disney’s Animal Kingdom using a new risk-based process. This decision was based on recent publications suggesting the need for updated professional standards for pre-shipment testing and quarantine protocols due to the evolution of zoological health practices.1,2 The new risk-based process relies on identification of pathogen hazards and assessing and mitigating the risk to the receiving institution. If sufficient mitigation occurs prior to shipment, then mitigation after arrival (quarantine isolation period and testing) can be eliminated. This elimination removes a previously highly monitored transition period (quarantine keeper observation and care). In order to ensure that mortality did not increase with the elimination of this transition period, while still protecting the collection from disease introduction, time to and cause of death following acquisition were identified and compared for birds transferred in pre and post risk-based process use for the period 2013–2016. Percent mortality of birds deceased within 6 months of acquisition was compared pre and post risk-based process use. Statistical analysis revealed the probability of mortality is not significantly different (p=0.39) between standard quarantine protocols with a highly monitored transition period and a risk-based approach with entry directly into the collection. In addition, no transmissible pathogens of concern were introduced with acquired birds using either method. The implementation of a risk-based approach to animal transfers between zoos and aquariums may be an alternative method that does not pose a greater risk to animal health while also protecting the collection from disease introduction.


Authors would like to thank the cast of Disney’s Animal Kingdom for their support of this project with special thanks to the Animal Health, Animal Care, and Science Teams with special thanks to Susan Feltman, Lynn McDuffie, and Dr. Mandi Schook for their assistance with data collection, organization, and analysis.

Literature Cited

1.  Marinkovich M, Wallace C, Morris PJ, Rideout B, Pye GW. Lessons from a retrospective analysis of a 5-yr period of preshipment testing at San Diego Zoo: a risk-based approach to preshipment testing may benefit animal welfare. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2016;47(1):297–300.

2.  Wallace C, Marinkovich M, Morris PJ, Rideout B, Pye GW. Lessons from a retrospective analysis of a 5-yr period of quarantine at San Diego Zoo: a risk-based approach to quarantine isolation and testing may benefit animal welfare. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2016;47(1):291–296.


Speaker Information
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Kanyon M. McLean, DVM
College of Veterinary Medicine
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH, USA

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