On April 5, 2020, The Wildlife Conservation Society reported that a four-year-old female Malayan tiger had tested positive for COVID-19 and that three other tigers and three African lions were showing similar symptoms.
One of the tigers, Nadia, had samples collected from her nose, throat, and respiratory tract while she was under anesthesia.
The WCS state confirmation that the three other tigers at the Zoo's Tiger Mountain and that three African lions that exhibited a cough have also tested positive for COVID-19.
Fecal sample tests subsequently confirmed that all seven cats had the infection, and that an another asymptomatic tiger at Tiger Mountain (never developed a cough) was also positive for the disease.
The New York State Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University and the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, are where the initial COVID-19 testing of samples was performed.
The USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory then conducted the confirmatory tests.
None of the zoo’s snow leopards, cheetahs, clouded leopard, Amur leopard, puma or serval are showing any signs of illness according to the WCS press release.
Their statement also mentions that all eight cats are continuing to do well.
They are behaving normally, eating well, and their coughing is greatly reduced.
The big cats were said to have been infected by a staff person who was infected with the virus but had no symptoms at that time, or before that person developed symptoms.
The Zoo has now put preventive measures in place for all staff who are caring for them, to prevent further exposure at the 4 other WCS Zoos.
The Bronx Zoo, located on 265 acres of hardwood forest in Bronx, NY, opened on Nov. 8, 1899. It is world-renowned for its leadership in the areas of animal welfare, husbandry, veterinary care, education, science and conservation. The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is the flagship park of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) which manages the world’s largest network of urban wildlife parks including the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and New York Aquarium.
Their curators and animal care staff work to save, propagate, and sustain populations of threatened and endangered species.
The WCS works to save wildlife and wild places in nearly 60 countries and across the ocean and to conserve the world's largest wild places in 14 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the planet's biodiversity.
Source: Wildlife Conservation Society