Tag Archives: Bronx Zoo

Big cats test positive for coronavirus at Bronx Zoo

New York City, with over eight million inhabitants, is currently one of the epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic, with over 142,000 cases that tested positive and 11,000 deaths so far.

This has led to many activities being canceled or closed down, such as the Bronx Zoo, one of the largest zoos in the US, closed since early March. Nevertheless, the fact that visitors are no longer welcomed hasn’t reduced the risk for animals at the zoo.

Four more tigers and three lions have recently tested positive for the coronavirus – bringing the total to eight big cats that have come down with COVID-19. Nadia, a four-year-old Malayan tiger, had been the first confirmed case, showing a dry cough and loss of appetite.

Nadia’s diagnosis was “the first time, to our knowledge, that an [wild] animal has gotten sick from COVID-19 from a person,” Paul Calle, the chief veterinarian of the Bronx Zoo, told National Geographic.

The veterinary staff at the zoo collected samples from Nadia’s nose, throat, and respiratory tract while she was under anesthesia. The other animals who developed a cough – three other tigers from the Tiger Mountain section of the zoo and three African lions – were not placed under anesthesia.

The zoo said that all eight cats “continue to do well” and are “behaving normally, eating well, and their coughing is greatly reduced.” Zoo officials said they believe the animals were infected by an asymptomatic staff member who unwittingly passed the virus on to them.

The zoo conducted its analyses of the animals in conjunction with the New York State Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University and the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at the University of Illinois’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“We tested the tigers and lions out of an abundance of caution and will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus,” said the zoo officials. “The testing of these cats was done in veterinary laboratories and resources used did not take from those being used for human testing,” they added.

Zoo officials said that none of its snow leopards, cheetahs, clouded leopards, Amur leopards, or pumas were showing any signs of illness. The zoo has put in place “preventive measures” for all staff members caring for animals.

Two pet cats in New York state have also tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the first domestic animal cases detected in the US. Both animals live in different areas of New York state. They have mild respiratory problems and are expected to recover soon.

Both cats and dogs can, in theory, contract the virus — but these are isolated cases. Cats seem more susceptible to dogs, but if a cat gets the virus, it likely gets it from a human. In other words, you’re more likely to give the virus to your cat than the other way around.

The American Veterinary Medical Association and CDC have been recommending that out of an abundance of caution, people ill with the coronavirus should limit contact with animals — advice that the veterinary group reiterated after learning of the tiger’s test result.

Valentine’s Day Present: Name A Bronx Zoo Madagascar Cockroach After Your Loved One!

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
That cockroach is named
After you…

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and as such every couple, and of course speculative business, is trying to come up with something special for this year to impress his loved one. A box of candy and a teddy beer? Too corny. Stay up all night and watch Lord of the Rings? Please… Name a star after her? A tad melodramatic I believe. Wait, I know, how ‘about naming a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach after your love one?

And would you know it, you’re in the nick of time, since The Bronx Zoo is holding a fund raiser in which you can send your darling (or maybe ex-girlfriend) a colorful e-card letting her know that you’ve named one of 60,000 Giant Hissing Cockroaches living in her honor. Not only will she be thrilled that find out she’s been associated with one of nature’s most resistant fiends to calamities, but also know that it’s all been for a good cause too, since all proceedings go to Wildlife Conservation Society. The e-card costs 10$ and you can order it online from the zoo’s website. Heck, it beats being in Fred Durst’s shoes.

“They’re extraordinary, which means if you’re cool about bugs, they’re really cool,’ says Steve Fairchild, a spokesman for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “We’ve got about 50 or 60 thousand in a hollowed out tree.”

Madagascar hissing cockroaches are the world’s largest roach species reaching nearly four-inches long. The hissing noise they make is a natural defense mechanism.

“Nothing says forever like a cockroach,” said Jim Breheny, Senior Vice President for Living Institutions and Director of the Bronx Zoo. “They are resourceful, resilient, and have been around for hundreds of millions of years.