DENVER — Two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive for the coronavirus – according to the Associated Press, the gorillas in San Diego are believed to be the first known cases among primates in the U.S.
Thousands of miles away at the Denver Zoo, Brian Aucone, the senior vice president for animal sciences, said the news wasn't shocking.
"They're so closely related to us and get a lot of colds we can get," he said as he stood in front of the indoor ape exhibit. "We've worn masks and done caution around these guys around flu season."
Aucone told 9NEWS those precautions are now year-round. Zoo keepers have upgraded their regular masks to surgical ones, now required to be worn around all primates because of apes being susceptible to COVID-19.
"If we have to do a medical procedure, we get suited up with coveralls and trying to cover everything, face shields, eye protections, those sorts of things," he said. "We're really trying to minimize the potential contact for these guys."
Denver Zoo staff told 9NEWS none of their animals have gotten sick or have shown any symptoms. Aucone attributed that news to the hard work the staff is doing in making sure they monitor all animals and are safe when interacting with them.
"[It's] a huge responsibility for us to take amazing care of these creatures so they can be ambassadors to their wild counterparts," Aucone added. "So it’s huge that we do everything we can to protect them and care for them."
The Denver Zoo and the San Diego Zoo, are both certified by the Association of Zoo and Aquariums. Denver Zoo officials said the zoo community has talked about the latest COVID news and are communicating the best practices to keep the animals safe.
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