A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the new coronavirus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the U.S. or a tiger anywhere, federal officials and the zoo said Sunday.
The 4-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia — and six other tigers and lions that have also fallen ill — are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee who wasn’t yet showing symptoms, the zoo said. The first animal started showing symptoms March 27, and all are doing well and expected to recover, said the zoo, which has been closed to the public since March 16 amid the surging coronavirus outbreak in New York.
“These are extremely hard days for all of us – no matter where we live and work. We will ensure that whatever we can learn from these circumstances will be used to better understand and combat this disease,” zoo director Jim Breheny said in a statement.
The animals were infected by a zoo employee who was “asymptomatically infected with the virus” while caring for them, according to the zoo. The Bronx Zoo has been closed to the public since March 16.