Friday, 9 Jun 2023

Three Snow Leopards Die of COVID Complications at Nebraska Zoo

Three snow leopards have died from COVID-19 complications at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska.

The mountain cats — named Everest, Makalu, and Ranney — tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-October. Staff at the zoo were treating the leopards for the past month, according to The New York Times .

The snow leopards were “beloved by our entire community inside and outside of the zoo,” staff said in a statement on the zoo’s Facebook page Friday evening.

“This loss is truly heartbreaking, and we are all grieving together,” they wrote.

Two of the zoo’s Sumatran tigers — Axl and Kumar — also tested positive in October, and they have made a “seemingly full recovery,” according to the statement.

Zoo staff noticed that the snow leopards and tigers had respiratory symptoms that looked like the coronavirus in felines. They collected nasal swabs and fecal samples, which tested positive for the virus.

The zoo then treated the snow leopards and tigers with steroids and antibiotics to prevent secondary infections, The New York Times reported.

Staff didn’t say whether the animals had been vaccinated. This summer, animals at some zoos in the U.S. received an experimental COVID-19 vaccine made by Zoetis, a veterinary pharmaceutical company, the newspaper reported.

COVID-19 has infected different types of zoo animals in the U.S. Last week, the Denver Zoo reported the first known cases among two spotted hyenas, which have shown mild symptoms so far. The zoo has also reported positive tests among 11 lions and two tigers, which have “either fully recovered or are on their way to recovery,” zoo officials told the newspaper.

Other recent cases have included tigers in Omaha, NE; lions in Honolulu; and lions, snow leopards, jaguars, and a tiger in St. Louis, the newspaper reported.

Earlier in the pandemic, the first tiger tested positive at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. COVID-19 has also been detected among tigers and lions at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, vaccinated tigers at the San Diego Zoo, and gorillas at Zoo Atlanta.


The New York Times: “Three ‘beloved’ snow leopards died of Covid complications at Nebraska zoo,” “Two spotted hyenas at the Denver Zoo are the first known to have Covid-19.”

Facebook: Lincoln Children’s Zoo, Nov. 12, 2021.

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