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Coronavirus: Bronx Zoo tiger tests positive, so what about animals at Zoo Miami?

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19, but Zoo Miami says they have a strict policy in place for keepers of their animals.
A tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19, but Zoo Miami says they have a strict policy in place for keepers of their animals. (WCS)

MIAMI, Fla. – The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo issued a statement Sunday that its 4-year-old female Malayan tiger, Nadia, tested positive for COVID-19, something that Zoo Miami Communications Director Ron Magill said on Facebook has “his phone blowing up.”

The Bronx Zoo said the tiger, and her sister, Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions developed a dry cough and are expected to recover from the virus.

Magill’s explanation for the tiger transmission “…Up until recently, it wasn’t known if the virus could be passed on to animals from humans. ..(This tiger) most likely contracted the virus from a keeper who had tested positive.”

On the Bronx Zoo’s web page, a statement said that the cats were, indeed, infected by a person caring for them who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms

“At Zoo Miami, we have had a strict policy in place to minimize situations of any keepers being in close proximity of the big cats or the primates and none of our animal science personnel has tested positive for the virus,” Magill posted.

“In addition, unlike many northern zoos such as the Bronx Zoo, where big cats are often kept inside enclosed buildings with limited air circulation where the virus has a better chance of lingering, our animals are constantly outdoors with circulating fresh air that helps limit the concentration of the virus.”

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.aphis.usda.gov%2Faphis%2Fnewsroom%2Fnews%2Fsa_by_date%2Fsa-2020%2Fny-zo...

Posted by Ron Magill on Sunday, April 5, 2020

Bronx Zoo tested the cat out of an abundance of caution. “Any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus.”

Magill said it’s unclear whether people can transmit the virus to their pets.

“There’s no documented case that a domestic pet can get sick from this,” he said. "They may be able to be a carrier, but having said that, I think again in an abundance of caution, this is not the time that I would be kissing my dog or kissing my cat. I would operate on a day-to-day basis that that is possible.”


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