A 4-year-old female Malayan tiger, Nadia, has tested positive to coronavirus, becoming the first of its kind to be declared so, officials from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo in New York said in a statement on Sunday.
The statement said Nadia, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions had at first earlier developed a dry cough and are all expected to recover.
Samples were thus taken from them. Results from the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory, based in Ames, Iowa, showed that only Nadia tested positive to COVID-19.
No other animals at the zoo are showing symptoms, the zoo said.
“Our cats were infected by a person caring for them who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms.
“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 zoo added.
“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.”
Anyone sick with the coronavirus is being advised to minimize contact with animals, including pets, until more information is known about the virus, the USDA has also advised.
This latest report is also believed to widen the scope of the research on COVID-19, a deadly disease that has afflicted over a million worldwide — of which over 250,000 had recovered from — and killed over 60,000, according to WHO.
The U.S. has recorded 334,891 coronavirus cases, about one-fourth of the world’s 1,263,976 total cases.
New York where the zoo is located is the U.S. worse hit state, accounting for about one-third (122,177) of confirmed cases and nearly half of death toll in the North American country (4,159).