Three snow leopards at the Lincoln Children's Zoo in the U.S. were reported to have passed away from Covid-19 complications on Friday, Nov. 13.
According to a Facebook post by the zoo, the snow leopards had first "tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19" a month ago, on Oct. 13.
News of the loss, shared in an official Facebook statement on Nov. 13, has since garnered over 1,600 reacts and 354 shares.
In its post, the Lincoln Children's Zoo wrote:
"Our leopards, Ranney, Everest, and Makalu, were beloved by our entire community inside and outside of the zoo. This loss is truly heartbreaking, and we are all grieving together."
It is not clear if the snow leopards had been vaccinated, according to the New York Times.
Condition of other Covid-19 cases
The snow leopards were not the only animals to have contracted Covid-19 at the facility.
The Oct. 13 statement also stated that the zoo's Sumatran tigers had tested positive for the virus.
In the latest statement as of Nov. 13, it was announced that the Sumatran tigers, Axl and Kumar, have made seemingly a "full recovery from their illness".
According to the zoo, all snow leopards and tigers had been treated with steroids and antibiotics to prevent secondary infection, upon testing positive for the virus.
The animals had first been found to have contracted Covid-19 after animal keepers “observed symptoms consistent with the virus in felids”. The zoo had subsequently collected "fecal samples as well as voluntary nasal swab samples" for the great cats in October, of which some tested positive.
No other animals at the Nebraska zoo reportedly showed any signs of infection.
On Nov. 6, four Asiatic lions at Singapore's Night Safari were found to have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
A fifth lion – an African lion at the Singapore Zoo – was found to have tested positive for Covid-19 on Nov. 10.
All nine Asiatic lions and five African lions have since been isolated into two separate groups within the Night Safari and Singapore Zoo respectively, with the Covid-19 positive lions further isolated within their respective dens.
Citing the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) assured members of the public that there is currently no evidence that animals play a role in the spread of the disease to humans.
However, there have been sporadic and isolated reports in other countries of animals testing positive after being in close contact with infected persons.
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Top image via Lincoln Childen's Zoo website