Captive Gorillas And Lions At Netherlands Zoo Catch COVID-19 From Zookeeper Captive lions across the world have contracted COVID-19 in zoos. - Media Credit: Adobe. Do not use without permission.

Captive Gorillas And Lions At Netherlands Zoo Catch COVID-19 From Zookeeper

Some have questioned whether these species would be catching the disease if they were in the wild

By

2 Minutes Read

Several animals at Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands (aka Diergaarde Blijdorp), have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The zoo, which is one of the country’s oldest, reported that “a number” of its gorillas and lions have contracted the virus. In a statement, the company said the animals are experiencing a lowered appetite and cough, and are behaving “listlessly.” 

The gorillas also have stomach and intestinal problems. 

Rotterdam Zoo says it isn’t certain how the animals became infected, and assured that it has been following a “special corona protocol.”

The facility suspects that an asymptomatic employee passed the virus on. The animals have been moved to a more discrete enclosure that cannot be viewed by visitors.

“We are now giving the animals plenty of rest to recover. The zoo keepers and the vet are keeping an extra eye on the gorillas and lions. They support them with medication where necessary,” the zoo said. 

Zoo animals and COVID-19

The Dutch zoo is the latest to report that its animals have contracted the infectious disease, but not the only. 

The first known case of an ape catching COVID-19 was reported in January, when eight gorillas at San Diego Zoo Safari Park caught COVID-19 from a zookeeper. 

Since then, Zoo Atlanta in Georgia, the Bronx Zoo in New York, the San Diego Zoo in California, Denver Zoo in Colorado, and St. Louis Zoo in Missouri, among others, have all reported animals catching the disease. Like Rotterdam Zoo, these facilities have typically chalked the infections up to asymptomatic employees. 

Earlier this month, three snow leopards lost their lives at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska after catching COVID-19.

Tigers, lions, hyenas, and critically endangered western lowland gorillas have all caught the virus, too.

Consequently, a growing number of zoos are now vaccinating their animals with experimental COVID-19 vaccines.

Animal rights organizations have questioned whether these species would be contracting the virus if they were not captive.

Wendy Higgins of Humane Society International/UK spoke to Plant Based News about the matter.

“Zoos are responsible for ensuring the health of the animals under their care, and that must also include protection from diseases that they can catch from their human handlers, including the COVID-19 virus,” she said. “In their natural habitats in the wild, these animals would have extremely limited to zero close contact with humans, and so it is imperative that proper precautions are taken to protect them.”

Millions around the world trust Plant Based News for content about navigating our changing planet & our role in it.

Our independent team of journalists and experts are committed to making an impact through a wide range of content—and you can help by supporting our work today.

heading/author

The Author

Jemima Webber

Jemima is the Head of Editorial of Plant Based News. Aside from writing about climate and animal rights issues, she studies psychology in Newcastle, Australia (where she was born).

More by Jemima Webber iconography/arrow-right

heading/comments

Leave a Comment

Plant Based News Comment Policy

In short:- If you act with maturity and consideration for other users, you should have no problems. Please read our Comment policy before commenting.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
buttons/scroll-to-top/scroll-to-top-small-active
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x