Apr 5, 2020 - Health

Tiger at Bronx Zoo tests positive for coronavirus

Tiger

A Malayan tiger cub in its enclosure at the Bronx Zoo on April 27, 2017. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

A Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to statements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the New York City zoo.

Why it matters: It's the first known animal to test positive for the virus in the United States. The tiger is believed to have contracted the virus from an asymptomatic zookeeper.

What they're saying:

"Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo, has tested positive for COVID-19. She, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions had developed a dry cough and all are expected to recover.
This positive COVID-19 test for the tiger was confirmed by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory, based in Ames, Iowa.
We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution and will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus."
— Wildlife Conservation Society

The big picture: The Bronx Zoo closed to the public in mid-March, and the tiger that tested positive began showing symptoms on March 27. Both the USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are monitoring the situation and say they will work to support the zoo and animal health care workers.

  • The USDA stressed that this is the "first case of its kind" and that "further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19."
  • The agency said that "anyone sick with COVID-19 should restrict contact with animals, out of an abundance of caution including pets, during their illness, just as they would with other people."

Go deeper: The USDA answered FAQs about the tiger case on its website

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