Friday, May 27th, 2022

2 Tigers Test Positive For COVID 19 At Denver Zoo

2 Tigers Test Positive For COVID 19 At Denver Zoo DENVER, CO — Two tigers have become the first animals at the Denver Zoo to test positive for the coronavirus, zoo officials announced Thursday.

The two 11-year-old Amur tigers, Yuri and Nikita, were tested with swab samples that were sent to the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins. The tigers were seen coughing, sneezing and showing other COVID-19 symptoms, the zoo said.

The test results were also confirmed positive by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

Yuri and Nikita’s symptoms appear to be improving, and no other zoo animals show signs of infection, officials said.

“We’ve known for a long time what species at the zoo are susceptible to the virus, and we’ve taken every necessary precaution to protect all of our animals,” said Brian Aucone, senior vice president for life sciences at Denver Zoo.

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“Although we can’t be certain how Yuri and Nikita became infected with COVID-19, we’re fortunate to have an incredible staff with the expertise and experience to recognize their symptoms, and provide excellent care and treatment.”

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Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Denver Zoo has worked closely with public health agencies at all levels of government to implement safety protocols, officials said. Zoo staff use protective equipment and adhere to strict cleaning, self-screening and health management rules.

The zoo also installed protective barriers around the tigers’ habitat.

Although neither tiger has been vaccinated against COVID-19, the zoo’s veterinarians are planning to vaccinate them along with other big cat species as soon as more doses of the animal-specific Zoetis vaccine become available, zoo officials said.

“Yuri and Nikita will remain under close observation by their keepers and veterinarians, and receive treatment for any symptoms as needed,” the zoo said in a news release.

“Both tigers will continue to have access to their outdoor habitats, however there is no risk to public health due to the distance between guests and the animals. Daily tiger demonstrations have been suspended until Yuri and Nikita fully recover.”

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