COVID-19 infects two Sumatran tigers in Indonesia zoo

Aug 1, 2021: Jakarta city officials say two critically endangered male Sumatran tigers at a zoo in Indonesia’s capital tested positive for COVID-19 but are expected to recover.

Nine-year-old Tino and 12-year-old Hari were receiving medication and remained under close observation by veterinarians at Ragunan Zoo, the head of Jakarta Parks and Urban Forest Agency, Suzi Marsitawati, said on Sunday.

On July 9, Tino began showing symptoms, including sneezing, difficulty breathing, and loss of appetite. Two days later, Hari also started exhibiting similar symptoms.

On July 14, animal samples tested positive for the virus. The 2 dangerous cats are thought to be the first known cases of the animal being infected with COVID-19 in Indonesia. “Both lions received medication, including antibiotics, and multivitamins, since they began to show symptoms. After 12 days of medication, their condition began to improve and they are expected to recover. We do not know how they became infected,” Marsitawati said.

She added in a statement that the zoo was still trying to trace how the lions were exposed, as the facility was closed under Jakarta’s epidemic restrictions when cats showed symptoms. “When the tigers became ill, we tracked down all the caregivers and zoo staff on duty, but so far none of them have been exposed to COVID-19,” said Marsitawati.

The Sumatran tiger is the only surviving species of tiger in Indonesia, with only 600 remaining. The other two subspecies – the Young Lion and the Bali Tiger – are extinct.

Indonesia has been the most affected country in Southeast Asia during COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 3.4 million infections and 94,000 deaths.

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