Four more tigers and three lions at the Bronx Zoo in New York City have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, the zoo announced Wednesday afternoon, following a National Geographic inquiry. This comes nearly three weeks after one tiger at the zoo was confirmed to have the virus and six other cats were said to be exhibiting symptoms.
The diagnosis of the tiger, named Nadia, represented “the first time, to our knowledge, that a [wild] animal has gotten sick from COVID-19 from a person,” Paul Calle, chief veterinarian for the Bronx Zoo, said April 5. The big cats likely contracted the coronavirus from an infected but asymptomatic zookeeper whose identity is unknown, Calle says: “It’s the only thing that makes sense.” Calle says.
The zoo has been closed to visitors since March 16. Initially it did not plan to test the other cats showing symptoms, because doing so would require sedation, which can be dangerous. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture subsequently updated an online database with information that a lion in New York had also been confirmed...