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Canada geese in Cheyenne test positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza

Canadian Geese (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Two Canada geese from Laramie County have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza. The geese were recovered from Lions Park in Cheyenne, where several dead geese were reported. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has been monitoring for the virus’s presence in wild birds.

Residents should expect to encounter additional dead birds at Lions Park. Sick and injured wildlife can be reported by calling 307-777-4330 or the Cheyenne Game and Fish Office at 307-777-4600

HPAI is considered a zoonotic disease, which can infect humans. Game and Fish reminds the public to not touch or handle sick or dead birds, and to not allow domestic animals like dogs and cats to feed on sick or dead birds. According to the Wyoming Department of Health, people who have been exposed to birds potentially infected with avian influenza should monitor for illness for 10 days after their last exposure. 

The Game and Fish Department also advises hunters who are in the field and handle game meat to take specific precautions. These recommendations come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service general safety guidelines for hunters handling harvested wildlife:

  • Do not handle or eat sick game.
  • Field dress and prepare game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear rubber or disposable nitrile gloves while handling or cleaning game.
  • When done handling game, wash hands thoroughly with soap or disinfectant and clean knives, equipment and surfaces that come in contact with game.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke while handling animals.
  • Do not feed sick/found dead carcasses/tissues to domestic animals such as dogs and cats.
  • All game should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F before being consumed.

In an effort to learn more about the distribution of the disease in Wyoming, anyone who encounters clusters of three or more waterfowl species or any single raptor, owl, grouse or wild turkey exhibiting signs of neurological impairment or found dead with no apparent cause should contact their regional Game and Fish office.

To report clusters of dead birds, fill out the online form or call the nearest Game and Fish Regional Office. For more information on HPAI and to track cases in wild birds, visit the Game and Fish website.