Ongoing report on COVID-19 at Prague Zoo

News

01. 03. 2021


As we reported on Thursday (February 25th, 2021), testing performed on fecal samples showed that three animals were positive for COVID-19. These were the Asian lions, Jamvan and Suchi, and the male gorilla, Richard. Their symptoms were mild, manifested in the lions with a cold, respiratory coughing; in Richard’s case it was loss of appetite and fatigue.

Except for Richard, the results were negative in the other gorillas (with the exception of Ajabu, whose results are not yet available). Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo Except for Richard, the results were negative in the other gorillas (with the exception of Ajabu, whose results are not yet available). Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo

Just as in the past, the tests were performed based on the above-mentioned symptoms, at the same time some of the keepers also tested positive. This procedure and the most probable mode of transmission were identical to what is known from other large zoos – Bronx Zoo, Barcelona Zoo, San Diego Zoo. Our colleagues are in contact with the staff of these zoos.

We are dealing with the situation in cooperation with the State and Municipal Veterinary Administration and with the Public Health Station of the Capital City of Prague. Yet more tests carried out today showed that the pair of short-eared cats were also positive. They too are housed in the Feline and Reptile Pavilion along with the lions. In contrast, apart from Richard, the results were negative for the other gorillas (except for Ajabu whose results are not yet available).

When asked if Richard will be separated from the group, the mammal curator, Dr Pavel Brandl states: “Dividing the group up leads to enormous stress, which will significantly affect the course of the infection – both in animals already infected and in those that are not yet infected. What’s more, the infection evidently occurred about a week ago, so the virus has already spreading in the group. Therefore, isolation would probably bring more cons than pros.”

Prague Zoo’s Chief Veterinarian, Dr Roman Vodička, chose to give covid positive animals supportive treatment: antipyretics and vitamin C, or antibiotics and ivermectin (Suchi and the male short-eared cat).

Both lions and Richard have gotten better since Friday. As stated by Dr Brandl, Richard is already eating his daily portion and, as per usual, is taking food from the other gorillas.

We will keep you up to date about further developments.

Miroslav Bobek, Director, Prague Zoo

The condition of both lions and Richard has improved since Friday. Pictured is the female lion Suchi. Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague ZooThe condition of both lions and Richard has improved since Friday. Pictured is the female lion Suchi. Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo