A four-year-old Malayan tiger has tested positive for coronavirus in the United States, becoming the first of her kind to contract the disease.
The female tiger named Nadia was tested for Covid-19 after developing a dry cough at the Bronx Zoo in New York, according to Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said samples were taken from Nadia for testing after she showed symptoms of respiratory illness alongside five other tigers and lions at the zoo. Other animals at the zoo have not exhibited any symptoms.
“Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers,” the zoo said.
“It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries.”
It is believed the animals contracted the disease from a zoo employee who was “asymptomatically infected with the virus.” The Bronx Zoo has been closed to the public since March 16th.
USDA has advised Covid-19 patients to minimize contact with animals, including pets until more information is known about the virus.