A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has contracted COVID-19.
Per a Sunday press release from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which manages the New York animal collection, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger named Nadia (not pictured above) was tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory after she — along with six other cats including her sister Azul — developed a dry cough.
Though some of the felines have experienced a decrease in appetite, they are otherwise doing well under veterinary care. They are all expected to make a full recovery.
According to the WCS, the animals were infected by a caretaker who was either asymptomatic or later developed coronavirus 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 not-for-profit organization added.
Additionally, the zoo’s snow leopards, cheetahs, clouded leopard, Amur leopard, puma, and serval are not showing symptoms.
CNN reports that Nadia is the first known animal to contract the virus in the United States, as well as the first tiger.
The American Veterinary Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have both recommended that people with the illness should avoid contact with animals.
Dr. Jane Rooney, a veterinarian and a USDA official, was quoted by The Associated Press, saying, “There doesn’t appear to be, at this time, any evidence that suggests that the animals can spread the virus to people or that they can be a source of the infection in the United States.”
The Bronx Zoo — located within Bronx Park — has been temporarily closed since March 16.
In a statement to ABC, zoo director Jim Breheny said, “These are extremely hard days for all of us — no matter where we live and work. We will ensure that whatever we can learn from these circumstances will be used to better understand and combat this disease.”