SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An Amur tiger at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls is being treated for COVID-19.
The Great Plains Zoo says zookeepers noticed coughing and lethargy in the Amur tiger, Keesa. A sample was taken and sent to a lab for testing. Great Plains Zoo received the positive COVID-19 test results on Tuesday, October 6.
The zoo says several other big cats have since shown COVID-19 symptoms and have been tested. All big cats have been removed from public exhibit spaces for the time being.
The zoo says staff wear personal protective equipment at all times when working in COVID-19 susceptible animal areas.
“It’s unfortunate that, in spite of the precautions taken, we are seeing this disease in several of our large cats. The speed with which it has moved between these tigers and leopards really speaks to the insidious nature of this virus. Usually, these species seem to recover well with supportive therapy and our animal care team is working hard to make sure that our cats follow that trend,” said Louden Wright, GPZ’s Veterinarian.
The zoo says the source of infection is not known.
A SARS-COV-2 vaccine has recently been approved and the zoo says once the vaccine is received, susceptible animals at the zoo will be vaccinated.