The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed human life, but it’s also had many impacts on the animal world. Some have been surprising silver linings, as wildlife has enjoyed a temporarily human-free world unafraid of contracting the disease.
But now one beloved animal has tested positive for the coronavirus: Nadia, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo. While she is displaying symptoms of the disease she is expected to make a full recovery.
The four-year-old Malayan tiger was tested “with an abundance of caution” after she, two other tigers and three African lions, developed a dry cough, a symptom of the coronavirus.
It is believed they were unknowingly exposed to a zoo employee with the disease when they were asymptomatic.
Despite the cough and a lack of appetite, the tigers are holding up well and getting well taken care of. “The cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers,” a press release says.
“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.”
Nadia was administered a coronavirus test by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory. The test given to tigers is different than the one used to test coronavirus in humans, as the zoo clarified.
“You cannot send human samples to the veterinary laboratory, and you cannot send animal tests to the human laboratories,” said Dr. Paul Calle, Bronx Zoo chief veterinarian. “So there is no competition for testing between these very different situations.”
While they are continuing to monitor the situation and hope the situation adds to what we know about the coronavirus, they emphasized that there is no evidence COVID-19 can transfer from animal to human. With reports of people requesting their dogs be euthanized over coronavirus fears, it’s important not to jump to any conclusions.
“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, and no evidence that any person has been infected with COVID-19 in the US by animals, including by pet dogs or cats.”
We hope this beautiful big cats make a speedy recovery! Share this story!