Three lions at Audubon Zoo test positive for COVID-19
NEW ORLEANS - Three African lions at the Audubon Zoo tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday.
According to the zoo, staff members discovered the infections after they noticed the lions were coughing. Nasal and fecal samples were taken for three symptomatic lions and tested at the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Baton Rouge.
The tests confirmed the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in lions Asani, Arnold, and Kali. The zoo said it is in the process of testing its other three lions.
All lions at the zoo were reported as having a normal appetite and appear to be doing well, showing few symptoms other than coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge.
Zoo officials say the three sick lions are being quarantined in their habitat, and veterinarians are closely monitoring all six lions in case serious symptoms arise.
Audubon Zoo's lion habitat is not closed, but additional barricades have been added to protect guests from potential exposure to the virus.
"As with all of the zoo's animals, Arnold, Kali, and Asani continue to receive excellent care," Audubon's Senior Veterinarian Bob MacLean said. "Audubon's veterinary and husbandry teams are skilled and dedicated professionals who work tirelessly to ensure the well-being of the animals in our care."
It is unclear how the three lions were infected, but zoo officials suspect they were exposed to an asymptomatic keeper who had the virus.
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