A tiger in New York's Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the coronavirus. Even as symptoms of the COVID-19 are visible in several of the lions and tigers at the zoo, it was the tiger named Nadia who tested positive for the virus, the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed on Sunday.
Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions were the ones showing respiratory issues in the zoo with a dry cough, said the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) statement. The WCS manages the Bronx Zoo.
The statement also said: "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 is unsure how the disease will develop in the big cat but prior to this, it was discovered by some researchers that cats can be prone to the virus. The other big cats such as the leopards, cheetahs and pumas, in the zoo have not shown any symptoms of the disease. The Bronx zoo has been closed since March 16.
Nadia's coronavirus test was not the human test
The Zoo's chief veterinarian said the test administered on Nadia was different from the one the humans take. The doctor said that just the way human samples can't be tested in veterinary laboratory animal samples can't be tested in any lab. The tiger is said to be infected by an asymptomatic carrier, a zoo worker. The other big cats are also showing similar signs but it is unsure whether they have the virus.
After Nadia tested positive for the novel coronavirus, several people have been expressing frustration over the testing on animals being much easier when compared to humans. Several also admitted to the fear of their own house pets having the disease. The cats in the zoo are expected to get better soon. The officials from the zoo have said that the diagnosis will help in the contribution of more knowledge about the novel coronavirus.
The Center for Disease Control have said that animals can also be infected by the coronavirus. But researchers believe that it can't be transmitted from animals to humans.
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