Nebraska Zoo’s three ‘beloved’ snow leopards die from COVID-19 – .

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Nebraska Zoo’s three ‘beloved’ snow leopards die from COVID-19 – .


It is possible that humans infect cats with COVID-19 and that cats pass it on to other cats, but there is no evidence yet that cats can infect humans

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The Big Three have delighted visitors to the Nebraska Zoo for years – pouncing on pumpkins during Halloween, preening for photos, and lounging on rocks in their enclosure.

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The Lincoln Children’s Zoo described snow leopards as silly, bubbly, and beautiful. They were one of the zoo’s main attractions, bringing a dose of mountain majesty to the Great Plains.

But on Friday, the zoo announced that the leopards – Everest, Makalu and Ranney – had died of complications from COVID-19, about a month after the animals tested positive for the coronavirus.

While scientists are still studying the effects of the virus on animals, members of several species have been infected and died in zoos around the world. Snow leopards are considered vulnerable to extinction, with only a few thousand individuals living in the wild.

The Lincoln cats “were loved by our entire community inside and outside the zoo,” the zoo said in a statement. “This loss is truly heartbreaking and we all cry together. “

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Two Sumatran tigers, Axl and Kumar, were also infected, but the zoo said on Friday they “have apparently made a full recovery from their illness.”

The zoo will remain open to the public. The park said it has strict coronavirus protocols in place for animal areas, including the use of masks for staff working inside. An investigation has not determined the cause of the outbreak, he said.

According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, it’s possible that humans infect cats with the coronavirus and that cats pass it on to other cats. However, the Cornell Center said, there is no evidence yet that cats can infect humans. The Food and Drug Administration classifies the risk of spread from animals to humans as low.

Last month, the park said its animal keepers had “observed symptoms consistent with the virus in felines,” which can include coughing, fatigue and loss of appetite. They collected nasal swabs and stool samples, and the cats tested positive shortly after, the zoo’s first and only cases.

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In a statement released in October, the zoo said the infected animals were being treated with steroids and antibiotics, but did not say if they had been vaccinated. Zoetis, a former subsidiary of Pfizer based in New Jersey, provided an animal-specific coronavirus vaccine to zoos across the country. The Lincoln Children’s Zoo did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.

The exploits of the three snow leopards have been documented in dozens of social media posts at the zoo over the years. A video from last year shows Everest performing a backflip on a pumpkin, and a 2015 article celebrating his recent arrival noted that he “quickly became a guest favorite with his playful and energetic personality.” Ranney, meanwhile, had a penchant for posing for belly-up photos and dozing on rocks.

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Since April 2020, when a tiger tested positive for coronavirus at the Bronx Zoo, dozens of animals in captivity in the United States have been infected. This month, the Denver Zoo reported the world’s first two cases of coronavirus in hyenas, and the St. Louis Zoo found eight positive cases among its big cats, including two snow leopards.

Snow leopards were also infected at the Louisville Zoo and the San Diego Zoo, where nine-year-old Ramil began to cough and have a runny nose in July. Abroad, the virus has killed a lion in India and two baby tigers in Pakistan.

Alex Herman, vice president of veterinary services at the Oakland Zoo in California, where big cats get vaccinated, told the Washington Post last month that it was important to get animals vaccinated to help slow the spread among all species.

“Humans are devastated all over the world. The animals are also devastated by this, ”she said. “It’s a health. “

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