A 4-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive for coronavirus, which causes Covid-19 in humans. This is the first instance of a tiger being infected, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories.
The tiger, named Nadia, along with her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions "had developed a dry cough and all are expected to recover," a news release from the zoo said.
Samples from Nadia were taken and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed symptoms of respiratory illness, the USDA said in a release.
"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. 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," the zoo's release said.
The zoo said the big cats were infected by a person caring for them who was either asymptomatic or had not yet developed symptoms.
"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 release said.