A tiger at the Bronx Zoo is the first ever to test positive for COVID-19 -- the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus responsible for the current pandemic -- after developing a dry cough.
Officials from the Wildlife Conservation Society made the announcement on Sunday that Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger, is receiving veterinarian care along with her sister, Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions that have also been coughing recently.
“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 interactive with their keepers. It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries,” a news release read.
The big cats are believed to have been infected by an employee who was asymptomatic at the time but ultimately came down with symptoms.
“Appropriate preventive measures are now in place for all staff who are caring for them, and the other cats in our four WCS zoos, to prevent further exposure of any other of our zoo cats,” a spokesperson said.