Bronx Zoo Tiger Tests Positive for Coronavirus, First U.S.-Based Animal

A tiger housed at New York City's Bronx Zoo has tested positive for COVID-19, which makes it the first-known animal in the U.S. to have contracted coronavirus.

The Wildlife Conservation Society -- which runs the facility and cares for the animals at the zoo -- made the announcement Sunday, saying a 4-year-old Malayan female tiger named Nadia has tested positive for the disease, which up until recently mostly affected just humans. The diagnosis was confirmed by the USDA's National Veterinary Services Lab.

The org adds other animals of theirs that have shown COVID-19 symptoms of late, including three other tigers and four lions, which have developed a dry cough, but all of which are expected to fully recover. Presumably, those other big cats will get tested too.

The Malayan tiger marks the first U.S-based animal case of coronavirus and the first case in a tiger anywhere in the world. Different animals -- including at least a couple dogs -- in China have reportedly contracted COVID-19, but it hasn't gotten to our furry domesticated friends ... or at least as far as we know.

It's pretty frightening ... and just goes to show the virus can, indeed, spread and adapt fairly rapidly. With this in mind, we imagine people will start having major convos about how to deal with the animal kingdom ... as that's a whole other swab of potential patients we'd have to care for on top of all the people already infected.

BTW, the Bronx Zoo has been closed since March 16 -- and, as you might know, NYC is considered the epicenter of coronavirus cases here in the States. Scary stuff ...


UPDATE: The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service just released some information that'll probably come as potentially great news for pet owners, who might be freaking out at the possibility of contracting COVID-19 from their pooches or felines at home.

In a Q&A sheet on their site, the federal scientists say in regards to animals (wild or domesticated) with the question being ... If animals can catch the virus, can they give it back to people? The APHIS experts say ... NO! They add, "At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets or livestock, can spread the COVID-19 infection to people." What's pretty obvious by now though ... we can give it to them.

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