Tiger tests positive for coronavirus as six other zoo animals show symptoms
6 April 2020, 07:55
A handful of big cats at the Bronx Zoo have been showing symptoms of coronavirus.
A tiger at a New York City zoo has tested positive for coronavirus.
The four-year-old female Malayan tiger, named Nadia, is thought to be the first known case of COVD-19 in a US animal, or tiger anywhere.
Nadia’s sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions are also showing symptoms after reportedly catching the virus from an asymptomatic zoo keeper.
The Bronx Zoo, in New York City, says the test result was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa.
Officials said the first animal began showing symptoms on March 27, however all of the big cats are expected to make a full recovery.
The Wildlife Conservation Society announced on Sunday: “(Nadia), her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions had developed a dry cough and all are expected to recover.”
The statement added: “Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert and interact with their keepers.”
Paul Calle, the zoo’s head veterinarian, said: “We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution (to)…contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus.”
From Dr. Paul Calle, Bronx Zoo chief veterinarian; "The COVID-19 testing that was performed on our Malayan tiger Nadia was performed in a veterinary school laboratory and is not the same test as is used for people.— Bronx Zoo (@BronxZoo) April 6, 2020
The Bronx zoo has been temporarily closed since March 16.
Nadia is the first known animal to test positive for coronavirus in the US, however, there are reports of other animals catching COVID-19 across the world.
Research published last week found that cats can catch coronavirus and pass it on to each other, but there is no evidence they can pass it on to humans.
A handful of coronavirus cases have also been reported in Hong Kong, including a dog that tested positive.
But USDA veterinarian, Dr Jane Rooney, previously told ABC: “It’s important to assure pet owners and animal owners that at this time there isn’t any evidence that they can spread the virus.”