Tiger Tests Positive For Coronavirus In New York Zoo

Ronke Idowu  
Updated April 6, 2020
File Photo: In this handout photograph taken on June 11, 2019 and released by the Taronga Zoo on July 29, Sumatran tiger Kartika with her seven-month-old cub. RICK STEVENS / TARONGA ZOO / AFP.


A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York has become the first of its kind to test positive for coronavirus.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed this in a statement published on its official website on Sunday.

The 4-year-old female Malayan tiger, named Nadia, tested positive after showing symptoms of respiratory illness.

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“This is the first instance of a tiger being infected with COVID-19. Samples from this tiger were taken and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed symptoms of respiratory illness.

Public health officials believe these large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus. The zoo has been closed to the public since mid-March, and the first tiger began showing signs of sickness on March 27.

Six other big cats including Nadia’s sister, two Siberian tigers, and three African lions also had symptoms of the illness, although they have not been tested.

Bronx zoo officials are, however positive that the cats will recover.

“All of these large cats are expected to recover. There is no evidence that other animals in other areas of the zoo are showing symptoms.

“Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers,” the zoo said.

The officials warned anyone sick with COVID-19 to restrict contact with animals including pets just as they would with other people.