Three snow leopards at Lincoln Zoo, Nebraska, Children’s Zoo died of complications from COVID-19 after several animals were infected, the zoo said Friday.
“This loss is really heartbreaking, and we are all mourning together,” the zoo said in a statement on Facebook.
Snow leopards Ranney, Everest and Makalu tested positive after a number of exposed symptoms, the zoo announced last month. The sumat tigers of the zoo also showed symptoms and tested positive. They seem to have fully recovered, the zoo said on Friday.
The animals were treated with steroids and antibiotics, according to the zoo.
“The Zoo has conducted a thorough investigation of all employees who were in close proximity to the felines. There is no evidence to pinpoint the source of the infection,” the zoo said last month after the infections were detected.
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The snow leopards are among several to contract the coronavirus in zoos around the country. Snow leopards NeeCee, Kimti and Meru all tested positive at the Louisville Zoo and recovered from their illnesses late last year. Ramil and Naphisa, two snow leopards at the San Diego Zoo, tested positive this summer after zoo keepers noticed coughs.
Other zoo animals including lions, tigers and gorillas received COVID in zoos, and some cases have been attributed to delivery by caretakers. Some zoos have vaccinated their animals. Eighty animals at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine created for veterinary use since last month.
The Lincoln Children’s Zoo has not said whether its animals are vaccinated.
“The Lincoln Children’s Zoo remains open to the public and continues to take all precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to humans and animals,” the zoo said.