NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Zoo says preliminary testing shows two of their tigers have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Stubbley and Osceola, Malayan tigers, tested positive for the virus in the preliminary testing and confirmatory testing is underway, the zoo says. The zoo’s third Malayan tiger, Christopher, was also tested after developing mild respiratory symptoms and results are pending.
The zoo says Stubbley and Osceola developed mild respiratory symptoms, including a dry cough and wheezing, last week. The symptoms were similar to other COVID-19 cases in big cats at other zoos and they were tested “out of an abundance of caution.”
It’s unclear how the tigers got the virus.
The zoo says the closest contact a visitor could have to the cats is more than 40 feet. The zoo says it also stays updated on all developments related to COVID-19 in both wild and domestic animals and follows the recommended biosecurity protocols outlined by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, including wearing PPE around the tigers.
No other big cats at the zoo have shown symptoms, and the tigers are expected to recover. COVID-19 cases in zoos across the country have resulted in complete recovery.
The zoo says Stubbley and Osceola are in good spirits and getting help from staff.