Covid-19 Affects Zoo Animals
I said affect them, not infect them. However, that has been proven wrong in the last 72 hours. A keeper transmitted Covid-19 to a tiger under their care at the Bronx Zoo. Care is being taken to prevent that from happening locally. An equally great concern is how Covid -19 has affected zoo animals. The virus has caused zoos around the country to shut down. Unlike most of the other zoos in the country, the San Antonio Zoo does not receive public dollars. The zoo’s revenue comes from admission fees, concessions and the support of its donors. The following is an excerpt from an email sent by the CEO of the San Antonio Zoo, Tim Morrow, to the Board of Directors:
“You may have seen on the news last night that Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo, has tested positive for COVID-19. She, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions had developed a dry cough and all are expected to recover. I just wanted to update you on our procedures and awareness of this issue.
The zoological veterinary community has been having discussions about the possibility of transmission of COVID-19 to and from the animals in our care for weeks now. A few days ago San Antonio Zoo implemented new protective equipment procedures for staff working with selected species in preparation for these possibilities. Below is our statement on this that is being given upon request to local media. Please let me know if you have any questions.”
“San Antonio Zoo provides daily, professional care to hundreds of species, many of which are threatened or even extinct in the wild. Currently, the zoo cares for one Sumatran tiger, five African lions, and several other species of cats. In addition to practicing social distancing among each other and with the public, our animal care specialists, who care for exotic cats and select other species, are and have been wearing PPE gear, which includes masks and gloves when in close contact to the animals. All of the animals at San Antonio Zoo receive thorough visual exams daily, world-class veterinary care, welfare enrichment, and are currently doing great.”
I have been involved with the zoo for many years. I started out working as a tour bus driver in high school. I worked as a keeper one summer in college (that hard work encouraged me to go to medical school). I served on the Board of Directors when I moved back to San Antonio and eventually became President of the Board. It is a great organization deserving of our support.
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Thank you for your support.