Four LIONS test positive for Covid-19 at Barcelona Zoo in only the second case of large felines contracting coronavirus
- Three females named Zala, Nima and Run Run and Kiumbe, a male, were tested
- The animals at Barcelona Zoo had shown slight symptoms of coronavirus
- Two staff at the zoo also tested positive for coronavirus, the authorities said
- More concerning symptoms, like difficulty breathing, were not found in the lions
Four lions at Barcelona Zoo have tested positive for COVID-19, veterinary authorities said on Tuesday, in only the second known case in which large felines have contracted coronavirus.
Three females named Zala, Nima and Run Run and Kiumbe, a male, were tested after keepers noticed they showed slight symptoms of coronavirus.
Two staff at the zoo also tested positive for coronavirus, the authorities said, after the outbreak was first detected last month.
Four lions at Barcelona Zoo have tested positive for COVID-19, veterinary authorities said on Tuesday, in only the second known case in which large felines have contracted coronavirus (file picture)
Authorities are investigating how the lions became infected.
Keepers carried out PCR tests on the lions in the same way as humans are tested as the animals are accustomed to contact with the zoo staff.
The Veterinary Service of Barcelona contacted colleagues at the Bronx Zoo in New York, where four tigers and three lions tested positive for COVID-19 in April.
It is the only other zoo where large felines are known to have contracted coronavirus. All recovered.
‘The Zoo has contacted and collaborated with international experts such as the Veterinary Service of the Bronx Zoo, the only one that has documented cases of Sars-CoV-2 infection in felines,’ the Barcelona zoo said in a statement.
‘The lions were given veterinary care for their mild clinical condition – similar to a very mild flu condition – through anti-inflammatory treatment and close monitoring, and the animals responded well.’
More concerning symptoms of coronavirus – such as difficulty breathing or other respiratory symptoms – were not found in the lions.
All other symptoms cleared after 15 days, except for coughing and sneezing, the zoo said, noting that the case gives them an opportunity to raise awareness about how Covid-19 affects animals – especially big cats.
Information will be shared with other international associations to help them with treating animals that become infected in the future.
The four-year-old male and the females, who are all 16 years old, have had no contact with other animals at the zoo, which is open to visitors.
Barcelona Zoo ruled out any possibility of visitors to the park catching the virus from the lions, saying: ‘Simply, no one who comes to see them gets close enough.’
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