Tiger catches COVID-19, falls ill at Grand Rapids zoo

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A 16-12 months-previous Amur tiger at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids has tested good for COVID-19.

Zoo officials say the female tiger named Nika is accomplishing nicely and its wellness is continuing to strengthen following not long ago turning into ill. A check verified COVID-19 positivity.

The tiger was thanks to get its second COVID-19 vaccination shot on the day it grew to become sick, officials reported. The zoo is positioned at 1300 W. Fulton St.

“We proceed to get the overall health and very well-currently being of our crew, friends and animals very seriously as we have just before and during this COVID pandemic,” claimed Peter D’Arienzo, chief executive officer of John Ball Zoo.

“As with all of the zoo’s animals, Nika proceeds to get extraordinary care from her keeper and veterinary teams and they are cautiously optimistic on her total recovery.”

Associated: Go behind the scenes at John Ball Zoo as they consider care of animals during the pandemic

None of the other zoo cats or other animals have exhibited symptoms of COVID-19, and zoo officials are operating additional screening on the other two Amur tigers to establish if they are shedding the virus.

John Ball Zoo officers suspect Nika’s exposure came from a COVID-19 favourable member of the animal care staff who was pre-symptomatic, like has happened at other zoos.

“Even with improved basic safety protocols in place for the treatment of the zoo’s animals, we know that just as with humans, the spreading of COVID can occur even between all those who are vaccinated and practicing protected behavior and protocols,” D’Arienzo explained.

The zoo’s tigers, chimpanzees, lions, snow leopards and modest carnivores are all either fully vaccinated or scheduled to get their second vaccination from COVID-19.

The zoo has elevated overall health and security protocols close to offering care to animals all through the pandemic, but there is no guarantee against transmission, officials say.

“The animal treatment and veterinary teams have been diligent with our use of particular protective machines and other protection protocols in all animal spaces, in individual our feline, primate and modest carnivore spaces, but we also know that no method is perfect in preventing a hugely contagious virus,” said Dr. Ryan Colburn, John Ball Zoo’s veterinarian.

In accordance to John Ball Zoo, Amur tigers are the greatest cats in the earth and one particular of the most endangered. They are indigenous to the significantly east of Russia and northeast China, and only all around 500 of the species stay in the wild. Poaching is the major risk to the species, followed by habitat decline and infectious sickness.

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