The Bronx Zoo has announced that one of its big cats tested positive for Covid-19, apparently infected by a caretaker. Three other tigers and three lions developed a dry cough, but are expected to recover.
“Our cats were infected by a person caring for them who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms,” the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the zoo, said in a statement.
We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution and will ensure any knowledge we gain about Covid-19 will contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus.
The USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed one positive Covid-19 test for Nadia, a four-year-old female Malayan tiger, but it was unclear whether additional test results were pending for other animals.
Nadia, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions had developed a “dry cough” and experienced “some decrease in appetite,” but were otherwise “doing well” under constant veterinary care.
While zoo officials expect the animals to fully recover, they admit that it is “not known how this disease will develop in big cats” since different species react differently to infections and the incident apparently marks the world’s first officially confirmed Covid-19 case for a tiger.