Two Gorillas at San Diego Zoo Test Positive For Coronavirus

Clay Curtis
January 12, 2021

After some of the eight gorillas in the zoo had been observed coughing, faeces samples were sent off for testing by the US Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

Science's COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center and the Heising-Simons Foundation.

The US-based media outlet reported that gorillas started showing symptoms last week after which their tests for the virus was taken.

Gorillas are the seventh animal species to have contracted the virus naturally, following confirmed infections in tigers, lions, mink, snow leopards, dogs, and domestic cats.

Both gorillas are expected to fully recover, the zoo said. "These are the first gorillas in the United States to be confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2".

The safari park on Monday added more safety measures for its staff, including requiring face shields and eye goggles when working in contact with the animals. "That's not the case for gorillas in the wild, though".

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He also announced that land ports of entry into the country would be closed, including Beitbridge. "Many people are arriving without proof of COVID-19 tests", Ramaphosa said.

Veterinarians are closely monitoring the gorillas and they will remain in their habitat at the park, north of San Diego, Peterson said.

Zoo officials are talking to experts who have been treating the coronavirus in humans in case the animals' develop more severe symptoms. There are now no vaccines for pets and other animals that can get infected with the pandemic coronavirus, but some are being tested, zoo officials say.

"The troop remains quarantined together and are eating and drinking", said Lisa Peterson, executive director of the safari park, in a statement. "We are hopeful for a full recovery", she shared. The zoo has been closed to the public since December 6.

Newsom said the source of infection is still being investigated, as it is unclear how the virus was transmitted to the apes.

Critically endangered western lowland gorillas are known to be susceptible to the novel coronavirus. "We can't expect a halt to tourism, but we need to insist that the relevant authorities enforce health precautions and do not sacrifice the nonhumans for the sake of maximizing short-term revenues", says primatologist David Watts of Yale University, who studies apes in Uganda.

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