DENVER (KDVR) – The Denver Zoo confirmed Thursday that two of its Amur tigers tested positive for COVID-19.
Yuri and Nikita, the zoo’s 11-year-old tigers, were showing symptoms, including coughing, sneezing, lethargy and nasal discharge.
The tigers are the first animals at the zoo to test positive for the virus. The zoo said no other animals are showing symptoms of potential infection.
The tigers tested presumptive positive through fecal and nasal swab samples at the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins. The results were also confirmed positive by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories.
“We’ve known for a long time what species at the Zoo are susceptible to the virus, and we’ve taken every necessary precaution to protect all of our animals,” said Brian Aucone, senior vice president for life sciences at Denver Zoo. “Although we can’t be certain how Yuri and Nikita became infected with COVID-19, we’re fortunate to have an incredible staff with the expertise and experience to recognize their symptoms, and provide excellent care and treatment.”
Both tigers will continue to have access to their outdoor habitats. The zoo said there is no risk to public health due to the distance between guests and the animals.