Created to bridge the gap in communication between the managed wildlife community and the emergency management sector, the Zoo and Aquarium All Hazards Preparedness, Response and Recovery (ZAHP) Fusion Center is a USDA-funded initiative that works to disseminate critical information on prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery to the managed wildlife community while developing new partnerships with federal agencies, local and state emergency responders, and private sector groups concerned with animal welfare and emergency management.

Microgrant Recipients

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2017 Contingency Planning Microgrants! Click here for more information. 

Getting Started 

Click here for information and resources that will help you if you are are just starting  your planning process

Contact Us

We want to hear from you! Click here if you have questions for ZAHP or would like to join our mailing list

What’s New

The ZAHP Fusion Center is pleased to officially launch three training opportunities!

  • The Contingency Planning Modules are intended for any facility wanting to better understand the planning process. Participants will be introduced to best practices for planning including how to identify and assess risks to their facility, identify needs and limitations to responding safely and effectively, and write a contingency plan. 
  • The Incident Command System (ICS) training was developed by the ZAHP Fusion Center's Zoo Ready project specifically to introduce ICS to captive wildlife facilities. This is ICS 100 course taught by the Emergency Management Institute, but using animal-specific examples. Check it out!
  • The Avian Influenza Zoo Preparedness Exercise walks participants through a simulated Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak, asking them to consider how these developments would be handled at their facilities in order to assess preparedness.      


ZAHP Updates

  • May 16, 2017

    2017 Safety Summit

    In late March, the ZAHP Fusion Center participated in the Safety Summit held at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Midyear meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We are happy to share the following presentations and relevant documents with you:

    • DHS Critical Infrastructure Risk Assessment Program (courtesy of Jeff Murray, Protective Security Advisor – Department of Homeland Security)
      • Attendees were given an introduction to the Department of Homeland Security’s Critical Infrastructure Risk Assessment Program. Under this program Protective Security Advisors are able to assist facility owners and operators via Assist Visits and a subsequent Infrastructure Survey Tool (IST) security survey,  ultimately providing a detailed assessment of the security and resilience of a facility.  More information can be found at , but some key point from the introduction to this program are that it is: 
        • Completely free
        • Voluntary and non-regulatory, i.e. you will not be reported to any regulatory agencies
        • Protected under the Critical Infrastructure Information Act, i.e. your data will not be shared
        • Available to facilities of all business models

         Each US state and territory has at least one protective security advisor that can answer any questions you may have and help you get started with the program. You can get in touch with yours by emailing

    • Conducting Complex Animal Escape Drills and Pre-Planning Events (courtesy of Anne Knapp, Director of Animal Resources and Andrea Lewicki, Administrative Assistant – Zoo New England)
      • In this session, Zoo New England will share the process for planning a complex animal escape drill, and the lessons learned from that exercise. They will also share how they use the Incident Command System to help them organize their “Free Fun Friday” events.
    • Hazards Drill Planning and Reporting (Courtesy of Casey Coy, Vice President of Operations – Florida Aquarium; George Peterson, Director of Dive Programs – Monterey Bay Aquarium; and Nate Fague, Director of Safety and Security – Mystic Aquarium)
      • It’s challenging to find the time to train and exercise, but it is SO important. In this session, participants will be given tips on planning drills in your facility, some proven ways to ‘report out’ the outcomes, and some strategies for USING what you learned in the drills to improve your planning and training
    • Reputation Management Through Effective Crisis Communications (courtesy of Patty Peters, Vice President Community Relations – Columbus Zoo and Aquarium)
      • When a crisis situation occurs, time is of the essence and the need to communicate is immediate. That’s why organizations must have a crisis communication plan in place before a potentially damaging situation arises. But what does that mean? What communications elements should be included in your crisis plan? While there’s no such ...
  • March 17, 2017

    USDA Confirms Second Case of HPAI in TN

    Yesterday the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed a second case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in a commercial flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.  This is the same North American wild bird origin H7N9 strain that was previously confirmed in TN. It is NOT the same H7N9 that infected humans in Asia.  The full announcement has been included at the bottom of this email.  As you may be aware,  Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) has also been detected in Tennessee ( .  While the epidemiology  for both the low and high path strains found is ongoing, they are believed to be closely related. Facilities in the affected area should monitor information provided on their State Animal Health Official’s Websites.  

    If you would like to stay up to date on surveillance efforts there are a number of reports available here, , including Monthly Summary Data from the National Wild Bird Avian Influenza Surveillance Program. 

    Looking abroad, the current HPAI outbreak in Europe sadly affected a zoo last week.  Despite being kept in a tent since December as a preventative measure, one of the pelicans at the Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria became acutely ill and was euthanized early last week.  Subsequent testing confirmed the presence of HPAI H5N8  in the rest of the flock, and they were culled in order to protect the zoos remaining bird stock (

    A number of you have already contacted the ZAHP Fusion Center with questions and concerns as you work on updating plains for avian influenza, and we encourage you to continue to reach out with your questions.  One commonly requested item is plan examples,  and we do have a handful of de-identified institutional plans that can be provided as an additional resource upon request.  Please send any questions or request to


    USDA Confirms Second Case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in a Commercial Flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee

    The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed a second case of highly pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza in a commercial breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.  This H7N9 strain is of North American wild bird lineage and is the same strain of avian influenza that was previously confirmed in Tennessee.  It is NOT the same as the China H7N9 virus that has impacted poultry and infected humans in Asia.  The flock of 55,000 chickens is located in the Mississippi flyway, within three kilometers of the first Tennessee case.

    Samples from the affected flock, which displayed signs of illness and experienced increased mortality, were tested at Tennessee’s Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.

    USDA is working with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on the joint incident response.  State officials quarantined the affected premises, and depopulation has begun.  Federal and State partners will conduct surveillance and testing of commercial and backyard poultry within a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) radius of the site.  

    The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and USDA works with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.

    USDA will be informing the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as well as international trading partners of this finding. USDA also continues to communicate with trading partners to encourage adherence to OIE standards and minimize trade impacts.

    The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facilities to ensure that they are taking the proper precautions to prevent illness and contain disease spread. As a reminder, the proper ...

  • March 8, 2017

    USDA Confirms HPAI in Lincoln County, Tennessee

    On March 5th the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed the detection of Highly Pathogenic H7 Avian Influenza in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee, within the Mississippi flyway.  Please see the full announcement from the USDA, included at the end of this post.  

    We are able to provide you with additional information on this event via staff participation in a USDA industry update, and cooperation from Dr. Hayley Murphy of Zoo Atlanta, who is participating in regional calls as a subject matter expert  on the zoological community for the Georgia Department of Agriculture.  Updates on this event are as follows: 

    • A large Surveillance Zone has been established with a 10-mile radius; this was extended from the standard 10 kilometer radius at the producer’s request.  So far, all samples from other barns on the index premises are negative for HPAI, as are samples from other sites in the surveillance area.  
    • Initial sequencing indicates that this H7 is North American, wild bird origin.  At this time, the risk to human safety appears to be low. 
    • Low path H7 strains have been detected in routine wild bird surveillance this year with no associated outbreaks in poultry.  This is the first HPAI H7 detected in poultry this year. 
    • USDA continues to collect samples and will adjust surveillance strategies as more is known about this virus, or if any other premises become infected.
    • Dr. Hayley Murphy of Zoo Atlanta is participating in regional phone calls as warranted, and will provide any pertinent information for dissemination to this group. 
    • Update:  USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) have identified the virus as North American wild bird lineage H7N9.  This is NOT the same as the China H7N9 virus that has impacted poultry and infected humans in Asia.  See the press release for additional information. 

    There has also been a detection of Low Pathogenic AI, H5N2 in a turkey flock in Wisconsin.  This is also a North American origin virus and there has not been any morbidity or mortality in connection with the virus in these birds thus far, therefore not meeting any criteria for a case definition of HPAI.  USDA and Wisconsin continue to monitor this situation, and ZAHP will provide addition al updates on this detection as warranted.

    Depending on location, exhibitors may be contacted about participating in surveillance.  Expect that recommendations will include strong messages about prevention of contact between backyard poultry and wild birds ( this includes domestic poultry in outdoor exhibits).   Facilities looking to evaluate their preparedness for an Avian Influenza outbreak may want to review the HPAI Checklist developed by the ZAHP Fusion Center.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to receive updates directly to your inbox. 

    USDA Confirms Highly Pathogenic H7 Avian Influenza in a Commercial Flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee

    Donna Karlsons, 301-851-4107
    Lyndsay Cole, 970-494-7410

    March 5, 2017, Washington – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI) of North American wild bird lineage in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in commercial poultry in the United States this year. The flock of 73,500 is located within the Mississippi flyway. Samples from the affected flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at Tennessee’s Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory and ...