Big cats test positive for COVID-19
Representational image: Image credit: The New York Times

Seven More Big Cats Test Positive For COVID-19

April 23, 2020

Seven more big cats- including four tigers and three lions- have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Bronx Zoo in New York City.

The zoo authorities informed this on Wednesday.

The testing was reported almost after three weeks one tiger-Nadia- has tested positive for COVID-19 in the same zoo.

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Nadia was the first feline to have tested positive for the virus and this followed the zoo authorities across the world to take extra preventive measures and protect the big cats from getting infected.

"Nadia was infected from one of the caretakers/zoo-keepers," National Geographic reported quoting Paul Calle, the chief veterinarian of Bronx Zoo.

The zoo has been closed since then.

"Initially it did not plan to test the other cats showing symptoms, because doing so would require sedation, which can be dangerous," the National Geographic further reported.

"But the US Department of Agriculture subsequently updated an online database with information that a lion in New York had also been confirmed as testing positive for the virus on April 15," the report further added.

"National Geographic contacted the Bronx Zoo seeking more information on Wednesday and shortly a press release was issued announcing that four additional tigers and three lions had tested positive for COVID-19," the news report added.

The press release issued by the Wildlife Conservation Society, a non-profit organisation that runs the Bronx Zoo.

"The additional tests were done using faecal samples and did not require sedation," the Bronx Zoo authorities said in a statement to the media.

It is, however, not yet known as to when the tests on the big cats were conducted.

It has also been reported that a number of domestic animals have tested positive for coronavirus and this also includes two cats in New York.

It has also been reported that a Pomeranian and a German shepherd in Hong Kong and a domestic cat in Belgium also tested positive for COVID-19.

"Both wild and domestic cats had been known to susceptible to feline coronavirus- but until recently, it was unknown whether they could contract SARS-CoV-2," National Geographic reported.

"A new Chinese study has found that cats may be able to infect each other. Scientists now are rushing to learn what other species may be able to be infected by it," the report added.

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