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2 lions check beneficial for coronavirus at Honolulu Zoo, 13-year-outdated Ekundu dies

The Honolulu Zoo’s only male lion Ekundu, who also had an fundamental wellbeing ailment, examined favourable for SARS-CoV-2 and died very last week, the zoo declared. The zoo stated it has executed rigid safety measures and is doing the job to safe vaccinations for the animals.

When Ekundu and his mate Moxy begun exhibiting indicators of ailment on Oct. 4, zoo officials took samples from both equally lions to examination for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that leads to COVID-19 in humans. The checks came back favourable following Ekundu’s demise.

“With our lion, he also had an underlying clinical situation that we have been managing for above five several years. So he grew to become epileptic. We’re not guaranteed the result in of that. We’re hoping that his necropsy will lose some gentle on the serious bring about of his dying and the position SARS-CoV-2 performed in his passing,” Honolulu Zoo Director Linda Santos explained.

Ekundu died on Oct. 11, a single 7 days following he started showing symptoms of respiratory health issues.

Ekundu and Moxy resting at the Honolulu Zoo

“While most SARS-CoV-2 infections in massive non-domestic cats have been moderate sicknesses that respond nicely to supportive treatment, Ekundu was sadly a single of the more recent circumstances the place COVID seems to be joined to critical pneumonia and tragic reduction of existence in these species,” zoo veterinarian Jill Yoshicedo explained.

Moxy appears to be secure and on keep track of to a whole restoration, the zoo said past 7 days.

“I’m certain she is aware of that he is expired mainly because she lives in the exact same cat dwelling. We did have them divided, but they even now had visible and audio make contact with with every other ahead of he expired,” Santos instructed HPR’s The Discussion.

Ekundu was born on Nov. 2, 2007, and arrived to the Honolulu Zoo in 2010. Along with Moxy, they lifted a few lion cubs — they’ve considering that been transferred to other zoos.

The zoo director, Santos, remembers when Ekundu initially arrived in Honolulu.

“Ekundu is a extremely exclusive cat. When he arrived, I obtained him off the truck with the forklift, and moved his crate in excess of to the lion property, so we could enable him out of his transport crate into the facility there. So I remember when he was really young, when he very first came in,” she mentioned.

The resource of infection remains mysterious. Personnel in close call had been vaccinated and analyzed destructive for COVID-19, the zoo explained in a information launch.

“In zoos, generally it can be been an asymptomatic keeper — an individual who hasn’t proven indications inspite of donning all the proper PPE. It looks that someway there is certainly been distribute of COVID amongst unique types of cats in zoos,” Santos reported.

The zoo is hoping to secure an experimental coronavirus vaccine for its animals, Santos claimed. Other zoos all around the nation have been given the vaccine and started vaccinating their animals.

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Ekundu, an African lion, at the Honolulu Zoo

“I consider they have to get approval from USDA to bring it in. We have to deliver a list of animals that we prepare to vaccinate. So we are in the queue ready to listen to back again,” Santos explained. “I consider there’s been above 70-one thing zoos now that have been given the vaccine for animals. And, you know, it truly is supply and desire. It truly is a person of people circumstances where you might be on a listing and you happen to be ready to get the vaccine.”

Santos said higher-chance animals like non-human primates, cats, and searching canines will be prioritized for vaccination.

African lions normally live up to 15-25 a long time in captivity, the zoo mentioned.

This interview with Honolulu Zoo Director Linda Santos aired on The Dialogue on Oct. 20, 2021.