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Gorilla at San Diego Zoo Safari Park Positive for Covid-19

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: January 12, 2021 9:50 am

gorilla with covid

A gorilla at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Members of the gorilla troop at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for SARS CoV-2 the virus which causes COVID-19. This is the first time the virus has been detected in a great ape and care staff report the gorillas are well. They will be monitored to ensure their health.

“Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “The troop remains quarantined together and are eating and drinking. We are hopeful for a full recovery.”

On Wednesday January 6th 2020 keepers observed that two of the gorillas were coughing. Out of caution due to the ongoing situation the gorilla family underwent fecal sample testing for SARS CoV-2. On January 8, the preliminary tests detected the presence of the virus in the gorilla troop which was confirmed by the The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) on Monday, January 11.

gorilla with covid

The gorilla troop at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Currently it is thought that the gorillas acquired their infections from an asymptomatic staff member. Keepers have been following all recommended precautions including COVID-19 safety protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and San Diego County Public Health and wear PPE when near the gorillas.

Research has shown that non-human primates are susceptible to infection with SARS CoV-2 but this is the first time a transmission to a great ape has been recorded.

“For almost one year our team members have been working tirelessly, with the utmost determination to protect each other and the wildlife in our care from this highly contagious virus,” said Peterson. “The safety of our staff and the wildlife in our care remains our number one priority.”

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Wildlife care professionals from San Diego Zoo Global have been looking after gorillas for decades both at San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. They have strict biosecurity measures in place to protect the troop.

Currently the Safari Park is closed to visitors. When it does reopen the primate habitats provide adequate distance to ensure that there is no public health risk.

gorilla with covid

The gorilla troop at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Learn more about gorillas here – Gorilla Fact File | The Animal Facts


Learn more about the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on their website – San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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