A four-year-old tiger named Nadia at New York City’s Bronx Zoo has tested positive for coronavirus, the novel virus that causes CoViD-19.
The Malayan tiger is the first known instance of a tiger being infected as well as the first anima to test positive for the virus in the United States.
Nadia and her sister Azul, along with five other tigers and lions, developed symptoms like “a dry cough” and loss of appetite but are “expected to recover,” according to the zoo.
One of the animals first began showing symptoms on March 27. Only four-year-old Nadia was tested. She did not have a fever at the time.
Dr. Paul Calle, the zoo’s chief veterinarian, said that Nadia was tested “out of an abundance of caution” and to “contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus.”
The zoo reports that the animals were infected by a human caretaker that was asymptomatic
In a news release, the Bronx Zoo said:
“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 zoo has been closed to the public since March 16. The employee alleged to have infected the animals is currently doing okay, according to zoo officials.
While a small number of animals have been tested, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that there are currently no known cases of coronavirus in pets or livestock in the United States.
Dr. Jane Rooney, a veterinarian and a USDA official, explained:
“There doesn’t appear to be, at this time, any evidence that suggests that the animals can spread the virus to people or that they can be a source of the infection in the United States.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend those infected with the coronavirus limit their interactions with animals.