Tigers have hardly been out of the headlines recently, thanks to the buzz around Netflix’s Tiger King. But now a big cat has made the news for a rather more topical reason—and she’s a New Yorker.
Four-year-old Nadia, a Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo, has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. She started showing symptoms alongside six other big cats at the zoo’s Tiger Mountain zone: Nadia’s sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions. The animals are suspected to have been infected by a zoo keeper, who had the virus without showing symptoms. (Cover your faces, people!)
The zoo has reassured the public that Nadia and her fellow corona-cats are being well cared for and closely monitored, and that the test on Nadia was conducted “out of an abundance of caution”.
Nadia is the first animal in the U.S. to have officially contracted the illness, and one of the first in the world. Two dogs in Hong Kong and a cat in Belgium have previously been officially diagnosed with COVID-19.
Experts say there is no evidence that dogs or cats can pass on the coronavirus. However, to be on the safe side, the World Organisation for Animal Health does advise anyone with symptoms to limit contact with animal friends, and keep hands clean before and after handling—whether your pet is a dog, a cat or something a little more Joe Exotic.
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