Lions And Zoos

Big cats, bears and ferrets get COVID-19 vaccine at Oakland Zoo

San Francisco Bay Zoo Inoculates Big Cats, Bears, Ferrets With Coronavirus

Tigers Ginger and Molly were the first two animals at the Oakland Zoo to receive the vaccine this week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Saturday. The doses were donated and developed by veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis in New Jersey.

Alex Herman, vice president of veterinary services at the zoo, said none of the animals had contracted the virus, but they wanted to be proactive. Tigers, black bears and grizzly bears, pumas and ferrets were the first to receive the first of the two doses. Next come the primates and pigs.

In a press release, she said the zoo used barriers for social distancing and staff wore protective gear to protect sensitive species. “We are happy and relieved that we can now better protect our animals with this vaccine,” she said.

Zoetis is donating more than 11,000 doses for animals living in nearly 70 zoos, as well as more than a dozen conservatories, sanctuaries, academic institutions and government organizations located in 27 states, according to the press release.

The San Diego Zoo began inoculating primates in January after an outbreak of COVID-19 among a gorilla troop in its Safari Park.

Great apes share 98% of their DNA with humans and are particularly sensitive, as are felines. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus include gorillas, tigers and lions in zoos, as well as domestic cats and dogs.

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