INDIANAPOLIS — Three African lions were taken off their exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo and are being treated in recovery after testing positive for the delta variant of COVID-19.
The lions were tested when the two females presented respiratory and digestive systems, while the male was asymptomatic. The two young lions are doing well, while the older female continues to be treated for respiratory symptoms.
“It’s unclear as to how the lions caught the virus. All zoo staff are vaccinated and no staff working in proximity to the cats were sick or showing signs of the virus,” the Indy Zoo wrote in a press release. “The staff working directly with the lions follow detailed safety protocols including wearing masks, gloves and following strict hygiene practices. Those staff members have all been tested for COVID and are negative.”
Zoo veterinarians have administered the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to the animals that are susceptible to the virus, including lions, tigers, cheetahs and apes. Some of them have already received the second dose. They utilized the COVID-19 vaccine created for animals by Zoetis, a veterinary pharmaceutical company, who donated the shots. The use of the vaccine was authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Indiana’s State Veterinarian.
So far, none of the animals have had an adverse reaction to the vaccine. there have been no other animal cases of COVID-19 at the zoo.