Nadia, a four-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo, has tested positive for COVID-19.
Nadia, as well as her sister, Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions, all, developed a dry cough and are expected to recover, according to a release issued by the facility posted on the Wildlife Conservation Society website.
The society harnesses “the power of our field programs and zoological parks in New York City to save wildlife in nearly 60 nations and across the world’s ocean.”
The confirmed positive case of coronavirus in the tiger was confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory.
“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,” the release states.
“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.”
The four tigers that have been affected live in the Bronx Zoo Tiger Mountain exhibit.
One Amur tiger that also lives in this exhibit has not yet displayed any clinical signs.
The same goes for a Malayan tiger and two other Amur tigers located in the zoo’s Wild Asia exhibit, who have also not displayed any clinical symptoms.
According to the release, the cats were infected by an asymptomatic individual who was caring for them before they developed 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,” the release states.
The initial sample from the tiger was tested for coronavirus at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and confirmation testing was performed at the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory.
“There is no evidence that animals play a role in the transmission of COVID-19 to people other than the initial event in the Wuhan market,” the release clarifies.
“And no evidence that any person has been infected with COVID-19 in the US by animals, including by pet dogs or cats.”
The four zoos and aquarium under control of the Wildlife Conservation Society, including the Bronx Zoo, have been closed since March 16.