AnimalsExhibit closed after nine-year-old unvaccinated male named Ramil developed a cough and runny nose
Sat 24 Jul 2021 22.09 EDT
An unvaccinated snow leopard at the San Diego zoo has contracted Covid-19.
Caretakers noticed that Ramil, a nine-year-old male snow leopard, had a cough and runny nose on Thursday. Later, two separate tests of his stool confirmed the presence of the coronavirus, the zoo said in a statement on Friday.
Ramil is not showing additional symptoms, the zoo said, but because he shares an enclosure with a female snow leopard and two Amur leopards, the staff are assuming they have been exposed. As a result, the animals were quarantined and their exhibit was closed.
It is unclear how Ramil got infected.
Gorillas at San Diego Zoo test positive for Covid in apparent first
In January, a troop of eight gorillas at the zoos sister facility, the San Diego zoo safari park, contracted Covid-19 from a keeper who had the virus but showed no symptoms.
The gorilla troop, which has since recovered, became the first known example of the virus infecting apes.
The case prompted the zoo to request an experimental Covid-19 vaccine for animals for emergency use. The vaccine from Zoetis, the animal health company that was once part of Pfizer, was administered to species most at risk of contracting the virus, including several primates and big cats.
However, Ramil had not been vaccinated before his infection.
There is no vaccine mandate for the staff, but unvaccinated employees are required to wear masks at all times, the zoo said.
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