Eight Gorillas Test Coronavirus Positive at San Diego Park in US
In what can be said as the first known case in primates possibly in the world, eight gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested Covid-19 positive. Out of eight primates who have caught the virus, several were spotted coughing, Safari Park’s executive director, Lisa Peterson told The Associated Press.
Initially, it is believed that the gorillas caught the infection from a member of the park’s wildlife care team who tested coronavirus positive, however, has been asymptomatic and followed safety protocols. The park has been shut down since December 6 as California’s lockdown efforts.
“Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well. The troop remains quarantined together and are eating and drinking. We are hopeful for a full recovery,” Peterson said. Veterinarians will stay in the habitat of gorillas in the park to closely monitor them. The primates are being given vitamins, fluid and food, however, there is no specific treatment for the coronavirus.
While there have been cases of infection from minks to tigers, this is probably the first instance of transmission to great apes. Experts have expressed concern regarding coronavirus in gorillas, as they are an endangered species. For the unversed, they share 98.4 percent of their DNA with humans. Those at the San Diego safari park are western lowland gorillas. According to the World Wildlife Fund, their population has witnessed a decline by over 60% in the last two decades due to poaching and disease.
The park added extra safety measures and protocols for its staff members, including face shields and eye goggles when around the animals.
Subscribe for newsletter
* You will receive the latest news and updates