The National Zoo’s lions and tigers have tested positive for COVID-19.
COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the animal kingdom, and zoos may be the frontlines.
COVID-19 was found in eight animals at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The zoo claimed that six African lions, a Sumatran tiger, and two Siberian tigers are being treated for COVID-19 and are being closely monitored.
The preliminary tests will be confirmed in the coming days.
The zoo claims that the public is not at risk because its “existing COVID-19 protocols restrict behind-the-scenes access in all animal areas and require use of personal protective equipment, hygiene, cleaning, employee self-screening, and health management,” despite the physical distance between the animals and visitors.
The animals were lethargic, ate less, coughed, and sneezed, so zookeepers gathered feces samples to test for COVID-19. According to the zoo, anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea drugs are being administered to the large cats “to manage discomfort and diminished appetite.” Antibiotics are also being given to them to protect them from subsequent bacterial diseases such as pneumonia.
The National Zoo said it doesn’t know where the sickness came from and that no other animals appear to be infected.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the chance of animals transferring SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to humans is negligible. People with COVID-19, on the other hand, should avoid contact with animals, including pets, livestock, and wildlife.
The United States Department of Agriculture has approved a COVID-19 vaccination intended specifically for zoo animals. It’s created by Zoetis, an American pharmaceutical business that specializes in pet and other animal vaccines.
In a statement released in July, Zoetis stated it was sending thousands of doses to zoos around the country to help safeguard more than 100 animal species. The vaccine comes in two doses that are given three weeks apart. Animals are deemed fully protected two weeks after receiving their second treatment, much like humans.
This isn’t the first time a coronavirus has infected a large cat. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, some animals in the Bronx Zoo in New York City tested positive in spring 2020. They’d all made it.
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of two lions at the Arignar Anna Zoo in Chennai in India this year, the most recent in June. At the same time, ten people were being treated for the sickness. A was euthanized by zookeepers in Sweden. This is a condensed version of the information.