High alert: Zoos to enhance regular checking of big cats, as tiger tests positive for COVID-19 in US
New Delhi, Apr 06: All zoos across the country has been asked to remain on high alert and collect samples fortnightly in suspected cases after a tiger in a US zoo tested positive for coronavirus.
In a letter to all states and Union territories, the Central Zoo Authority said, "the United States Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed COVID-19 in a tiger in the Bronx Zoo, New York. "Zoos in the country are, therefore, advised to remain on highest alertness, watch animals on 24X7 basis using CCTVs for any abnormal behaviour or symptoms."
The authority said mammals, especially cats, ferret and primates, need to be carefully monitored and fortnightly samples of suspected cases be sent to designated animal health institutes for COVID-19 testing.
In what is believed to be the first known case, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City has tested positive for the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Nadia, the 4-year-old Malayan tiger that tested positive, was screened for the COVID-19 disease after developing a dry cough along with three other tigers and three lions, the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the zoo, said in a statement. All of the cats are expected to recover.
There have been a handful of reports outside the U.S. of pet dogs or cats becoming infected after close contact with contagious people, including a Hong Kong dog that tested positive for a low level of the pathogen in February and early March.
But, this case is unique as Nadia became sick after exposure to an asymptomatic zoo employee.