NEW DELHI: In a first in the world, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City has tested positive for the virus that causes the highly infectious COVID-19 the US Department of Agriculture announced on Sunday. Six other cats in the zoo are showing symptoms of the virus.
The Malayan tiger, named Nadia, has likely contracted the virus from an infected by asymptomatic zookeeper, says Paul Calle who is the chief veterinarian of the zoo, told a wildlife magazine. Nadia’s sister, two Siberian tigers, and three African lions have also developed coughs and have a loss of appetite. They have not been tested yet. The zoo has been closed for visitors since March 16.
“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 zoo said in a statement.
“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 read.
Earlier several other domestic animals had previously tested positive for SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, which includes a Pomeranian and a German Shepherd in Hong Kong, a domestic cat in Belgium.