May 10, 2009

Experts: Zoo pigs no threat to visitors

Those planning on visiting zoos such as the St. Louis Zoo need not worry about possibly catching the swine flu from the site's pig residents, zoo officials say.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums said in a statement that despite the presence of pigs at certain accredited U.S. zoos, animals and humans alike can relax given the healthy environment at such sites, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Sunday.

Rudy Socha, publisher of the Zoo and Aquarium Friends newsletter, said he had received 500 calls and e-mails from individuals concerned that the presence of pigs at zoos could pose a swine flu risk.

And I'd be willing to bet that translated into 5,000 people who didn't bother going to the zoo because of the scare, he added.

Recent child visitors to the St. Louis Zoo seemed less concerned about the swine flu than the appearances of such pig species as Babirusas and Red River hogs.

Ewwww. Those are so gross, the Post-Dispatch quoted one young girl as saying recently at the zoo regarding the site's Barirusa population.

Those are hideous, a young boy in another group offered regarding the pig species.