TAMPA, Fla. — Two Malayan tigers at ZooTampa have tested positive for COVID-19, officials at the west-central Florida zoo said Thursday.
The tigers, ages 16 and 7, are “exhibiting mild respiratory symptoms,” zoo officials said in a news release.
“At this point, we are unsure how the vaccinated animals got the virus, but we have seen instances around the world where the virus has been transmitted from humans to big cats and primates even with strict biosecurity protocols in place,” Cynthia Stringfield, senior vice president of animal health, said in a statement.
Nasal swabs and fecal samples of the tigers were sent for testing after approval from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, WTVT-TV reported.
The tigers are being treated and watched around the clock, according to WFLA-TV. They will remain from public view and in their night quarters until further notice, zoo officials said.
The zoo also will test its orangutans “out of an abundance of caution,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.
We are always monitoring susceptible species and will continue to review our protocols which follow the latest scientific data and government recommendations,” Stringfield said in a statement. “The safety of our team, the animals entrusted to our care and guests remains our No. 1 priority.”
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