A zoo in San Francisco, United States (USA), is inoculating cats, bears and ferrets against the coronavirus, an initiative that is part of a national effort to protect animal species through an experimental vaccine.
The Ginger and Molly tigers were the first two animals at the Oakland Zoo to receive the vaccine, according to the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday. The doses were donated and developed by the New Jersey-based veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis.
Alex Herman, vice president of veterinary services, said none of the animals contracted the virus, but the zoo wanted to be proactive. Tigers, black and brown bears, mountain lions and ferrets were the first to receive the initial dose of the vaccine. Next will be primates and pigs.
In a statement, the official said that the zoo used barriers to social distance and the employees used specific equipment to protect susceptible species. “We are happy and relieved to be able to better protect our animals with this vaccine”, he said.
Zoetis is donating more than 11,000 doses to animals that live in some 70 zoos, as well as more than a dozen conservatories, sanctuaries, academic institutions and government organizations located in 27 states.
The San Diego Zoo began inoculating primates in January after a outbreak of covid-19 among gorillas. These share 98% of their DNA with humans and are especially susceptible, as are felines. Confirmed cases of coronaviruses in zoos include gorillas, tigers and lions, as well as domestic dogs and cats.
Taísa Pagno //