Malayan tigers at San Diego Zoo suspected of contracting COVID-19

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Posted at 5:56 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 20:56:24-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A group of Malayan tigers at the San Diego Zoo are being monitored after they were suspected of contracting the coronavirus.

According to the San Diego Wildlife Alliance, an in-house COVID-19 PCR test on a 10-year-old tiger, Connor, came back positive from nasal and oral swabs.

Fecal sample tests were taken on two other male tigers Cinta and Berani, who share the same habitat as Connor. Their tests also came back positive.

The SD Wildlife Alliance says the tigers are not showing any concerning signs of illness other than an intermittent cough, fatigue, and occasionally decreased appetite. Their team of specialists will continue to provide the tigers the best care available - monitoring them closely and treating symptoms as they may arise.

The tigers have been fully vaccinated with a recombinant purified spike protein vaccine, intended for use in protecting animals against COVID-19.

Similar to the human vaccine, the vaccine for animals reduces the likelihood of contracting the virus and reduces the severity and duration of illness if the virus is contracted.

The zoo says the tiger’s habitat at Tiger River will remain open to guests as the tigers residing in the habitat are at a substantial distance from guests.

This suspected exposure of the tigers at the San Diego Zoo, and similar recent exposure of snow leopards and Sumatran tigers at the Zoo and Safari Park respectively, is consistent with how the virus continues to spread across the human community.

Wildlife health and care teams at both the Zoo and Safari Park have inoculated around 260 animals over the past few months most at risk for the contracting the virus.

Zoo officials say they are waiting for confirmation of the test results from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory.