San Diego snow leopard diagnosed with COVID
An unfortunate San Diego snow leopard who developed a cough and runny nose last week has tested positive for coronavirus.
Ramil, a nine-year-old male at San Diego Zoo, had not been vaccinated against the virus, unlike fellow big cats and apes at the zoo.
Caretakers noticed Ramil’s symptoms on Thursday and tests of his stool confirmed that he had coronavirus, the zoo said in a uttalelse på fredag.
Although the zoo said that Ramil “appears to be doing well”, he has been quarantined alongside the female snow leopard and two Amur leopards with which he shares an enclosure.
Vets are monitoring the animals closely and their enclosure is closed to zoo visitors until further notice, sa uttalelsen.
The zoo does not know how Ramil contracted the virus and stated that it has had significant hygiene measures in place since the pandemic began last year.
Positive test results taken at the zoo and at a Californian lab have been sent to veterinary laboratories at the US department of agriculture (USDA) for verification.
The San Diego zoo has been vaccinating big cats and other animals at risk of contracting COVID with an experimental jab from animal health company Zoetis but Ramil had yet to receive a dose.
The team began vaccinating animals after a troop of eight gorillas caught the disease in January from a zookeeper who had not been showing any symptoms.
The troop was the first known example of the virus infecting apes.
Information about the gorillas and the snow leopard will be shared with conservation organisations and wildlife care professionals around the world to protect animals from the virus.
The zoo also said that staff are not obliged to have the vaccine but unvaccinated employees must wear masks at all times.