4 tigers, three African lions test positive for coronavirus at Bronx Zoo
Four tigers and three African lions have tested positive for coronavirus at the Bronx Zoo in New York, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced.
The nonprofit, which runs the famed zoo in New York City, said three tigers and three African lions began showing symptoms in early April.
They were tested and those results now show they are also infected. According to the zoo, they had been coughing: one tiger, who showed no symptoms, also tested positive.
The zoo said the cats were infected by a staff member who was positive but at the time showed no symptoms.
In response, preventive measures are now in place for staff who are caring for cats across all four zoos run by the nonprofit in the state.
All four have been closed since mid-March, the nonprofit said.
The zoo said the animals are now behaving normally, eating well and are not coughing as much.
Bronx zoo had earlier announced that a 4-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia had tested positive for the virus.
The tiger became the first of her kind to test positive for the coronavirus.
The 4-year-old female Malayan tiger tested positive after developing a dry cough and is expected to recover, Bronx Zoo said in a news release.
Samples from Nadia were taken and tested after the tiger — and five other tigers and lions at the zoo — began showing symptoms of respiratory illness, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries.”
The Covid-19 testing that was performed on Nadia was performed in a veterinary school laboratory and is not the same test used for people, Dr. Paul Calle, the zoo’s chief veterinarian, posted on Facebook.
Anyone sick with the coronavirus is being advised to minimize contact with animals, including pets, until more information is known about the virus, the USDA said.