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Denver Zoo says tigers have recovered from COVID, lions improving

Two Amur tigers have completely recovered from COVID, and 11 African lions are showing improved symptoms, the zoo said.

DENVER — Two tigers at Denver Zoo who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered, and 11 lions who tested positive are showing improvement.

The zoo said Amur tigers Yuri and Nikita are considered fully healthy after testing negative for three consecutive days, no longer showing symptoms and displaying good appetites.

In addition, the zoo said the African lions remain positive, but testing shows all 11 are experiencing a decreased viral load and their symptoms are improving.

The zoo said that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has taken extensive measures to safeguard the health of its guests, staff and animals. The zoo’s animal care staff adheres to strict COVID-19 protocols around its animals, according to a release, including required use of personal protective equipment, hygiene, cleaning, employee self-screening and health management.

Credit: Denver Zoo

On Oct. 14, the zoo announced the tigers tested positive after their animal care staff observed coughing, sneezing, lethargy and nasal discharge in both animals, according to the zoo. 

They tested presumptive positive through fecal and nasal swab samples at the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins, and the results were also confirmed positive by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories, according to the zoo. 

Both tigers were unvaccinated, according to the zoo, but veterinarians are planning to vaccinate the tigers along with other big cat species as soon as more doses of the animal-specific Zoetis vaccine become available.

PREVIOUS: 2 tigers are first animals at Denver Zoo to test positive for COVID-19

On Oct. 25, the zoo announced the lions, which were also unvaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19 after their keepers observed coughing, sneezing, lethargy and nasal discharge. 

The lions range in ages one to nine, and are part of two African lion prides at the zoo.

PREVIOUS: Denver Zoo announces 11 lions test positive for COVID-19

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