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Gorillas Recover from Covid-19 at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: February 14, 2021 9:20 pm

san diego zoo safari park gorilla troop covid-19

Leslie and Imani the gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The gorilla troop at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California, USA are back on display after recovering from SARS-CoV-2 the virus which causes COVID-19.

Despite team members following all recommended biosecurity precautions over the last month a number of gorillas at the safari park became infected with the virus. The first tested positive on January 11th 2021. Some members of the group showed symptoms including a mild cough, congestion, nasal discharge or lethargy.

This morning guests could view members of the eight member troop eating, drinking and interacting with one another after a full recovery. This was made possible through collaboration between wildlife care professionals, the vet team and a range of colleagues and partners who ensured they received the highest level of care.

“We’re so grateful for the outpouring concern and support we’ve received while the troop safely recovered,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “We’re thrilled to share the joy that this beloved troop brings to our community and to our guests.”

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San Diego Zoo Global joined forces with multiple local, state and national leaders in the medical, scientific, zoological and public health communities to provide the best possible care for the gorilla troop. These colleagues include professionals from San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, UC San Diego Health, Rady Children's Hospital–San Diego, the Scripps Research Institute, California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Department of Public Health, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratories, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine, The Great Ape Heart Project based at Zoo Atlanta and Chicago Zoological Society Radiology Consulting Service.

“There’s a such a warm camaraderie felt with our colleagues as we continue to share knowledge,” said Peterson. “We’re incredibly thankful for the collaboration across various areas of expertise to ensure the best health for our troop and a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things.”

Staff at San Diego Zoo Global have already begun sharing the information they have learned from this experience with wildlife care professionals from over 200 zoos worldwide. The documentation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in gorillas from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park may help provide important information for our understanding of this virus and its effect on great apes.

san diego zoo safari park gorilla troop covid-19

Winston and Imani the gorillas 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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