Via press release from the Bronx Zoo:
On April 5, 2020, we reported that a four-year-old female Malayan tiger had tested positive for COVID-19 and three other tigers and three African lions were showing similar symptoms.
Samples for testing from the tiger, Nadia, were collected from her nose, throat, and respiratory tract while she was under anesthesia. Subsequently, we can confirm that the three other tigers in Tiger Mountain and the three African lions that exhibited a cough have also tested positive for COVID-19.
This testing was done by using a fecal sample test developed by our laboratory partners that does not require the animals be placed under anesthesia. The fecal tests confirmed our suspicion that all seven cats had the infection, and also determined that one tiger at Tiger Mountain that never developed a cough was also positive for the disease.
We tested the tigers and lions out of an abundance of caution and will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus. The testing of these cats was done in veterinary laboratories and resources used did not take from those being used for human testing.
None of the zoo’s snow leopards, cheetahs, clouded leopard, Amur leopard, puma or serval are showing any signs of illness. Our cats were infected by a staff person who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms.
Preventive measures are now in place for all staff who are caring for them, and the other cats in our four WCS zoos, to prevent further exposure of any of our felids in our zoos to the disease.
Yesterday two house cats in New York state were found to have COVID infections. The CDC recommends that all household pets be kept inside or away from people from outside the household. It’s not currently believed that pets can transmit the virus to humans.
Seven more big cats have coronavirus at the Bronx Zoo, in addition to a tiger that tested positive earlier this month.
The zoo said three tigers and three African lions had been coughing, and another tiger, who showed no symptoms, also tested positive. https://t.co/qqvO0gLj3y
— CNN (@CNN) April 23, 2020
Eight big cats at the Bronx Zoo have tested positive for COVID-19 after a zookeeper accidentally infected them. https://t.co/PPRh38Ofpo
— ABC News (@ABC) April 23, 2020