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A few lions at the Audubon Zoo test favourable for Covid-19

Audubon Nature Institute

Kali and Arnold

From the Audubon Nature Institute

A few African lions at Audubon Zoo tested constructive yesterday for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. During the week of Dec. 20, Audubon Zoo animal treatment staff observed the lions have been coughing and developing nasal discharge.

Nasal and fecal samples for three symptomatic lions had been collected and analyzed at the Louisiana Animal Ailment Diagnostic Laboratory in Baton Rouge, confirming the existence of SARS-CoV-2 for lions Arnold and Kali and their cub Asani on Dec. 28. The zoo is in the system of tests the other a few lions.

All lions continue on to have a standard appetite and surface to be carrying out very well. They are exhibiting few indicators other than coughing, sneezing and nasal discharge. They are presently currently being quarantined in their habitat.

Veterinarians are checking all six lions carefully and will deal with any severe signs as they might crop up. The lion habitat at Audubon Zoo is not closed, but more barricades have been included in front of the exhibit to additional distance company out of an abundance of caution.

“As with all of the zoo’s animals, Arnold, Kali and Asani proceed to obtain fantastic care,” mentioned Audubon’s Senior Veterinarian Bob MacLean. “Audubon’s veterinary and husbandry groups are skilled and committed experts who do the job tirelessly to make sure the nicely-staying of the animals in our treatment.”

It is not but regarded how the a few lions obtained the an infection, but it is most most likely that they had been uncovered to an asymptomatic keeper. Audubon Zoo has always experienced biosecurity protocols in area and adopted heightened protocols around susceptible animals at the onset of the pandemic final yr.

Audubon Zoo biosecurity techniques incorporate the use of particular protecting gear, cleansing and disinfection protocols, quarantine treatments for new arrivals, and preventative medicine procedures, these kinds of as vaccination. Audubon Zoo workers are needed to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and follow wellbeing and safety protocols at all times. People staff members operating with vulnerable animals are demanded to put on N95 or KN95 encounter masks.

“Audubon is taking all advisable safeguards to protect keepers from becoming contaminated and to protect against any even further transmission from people today to the lions,” reported Gary A. Balsamo, the point out general public wellbeing veterinarian. “The lions are generally divided from the public by at minimum 6 ft, and that distance has just lately been amplified to be certain no danger to the public.”

In October, Audubon Zoo commenced administering an animal Covid-19 vaccine to its gorillas and orangutans. The second period of the vaccine distributions, scheduled for the zoo’s cats and mustelids this kind of as otters, is nonetheless pending. So the African lions have not however been vaccinated.

Zoetis, the manufacturer of the vaccine, donated much more than 11,000 doses to enable defend the health and effectively-being of far more than 100 mammalian species living in nearly 70 zoos as well as much more than a dozen conservatories, sanctuaries, tutorial establishments and government companies in 27 states.

Zoetis’ research and improvement staff applied decades of experience acquiring other coronavirus vaccines for cats, puppies, poultry and cattle. Zoetis’ Covid-19 vaccine is  formulated for animal species and does not reduce vaccine doses obtainable to human beings.

“Guests really should sense self-confident in knowing that they are not at risk from animals when checking out the Zoo,” MacLean included.