11 African lions test positive for COVID-19 at Denver Zoo in US


Guwahati: Officials with the Denver Zoo said  that 11 African lions have tested positive for COVID-19.

The lions range in age from 1 to 9 years old, officials said.

The animals were tested through nasal swab samples after staff noticed they were coughing, sneezing, and appeared lethargic.

Zoo officials said their symptoms are relatively mild at this point, but staff will continue to monitor and treat the animals. It’s not clear how they contracted the virus.

The lions were tested after zoo keepers observed, coughing, sneezing, lethargy and nasal discharge, officials said.

“Animal care and veterinarians describe their symptoms as relatively mild at this point, and are closely monitoring and treating the lions individually as needed,” zoo officials said.

Denver’s zoo is home to two African lion prides: brothers Jasiri, Usiku, Bahati and Kito (age 6); and another group comprising males Tobias (age 5), Tatu (age 2) and Oskar (age 1), and females Neliah (age 9), Sabi (age 9) Kamara (age 6) and Araali (age 1).

None of the lions have been vaccinated against COVID-19, officials said, but zoo officials plan to vaccinate them (along with the two tigers) as soon as more doses of the animal-specific Zoetis vaccine become available.