San Diego zoo officials said they vaccinated nine great apes against the coronavirus after infecting a swarm of gorillas at a safari park. Reported by the Associated Press.
Four orangutans and five bonobos were vaccinated against the novel coronavirus in January and February. Three bonobos and a gorilla are also expected to receive an experimental vaccine. It is developed by Zoetis Inc., a US-based animal drug company.
The vaccination follows the January COVID-19 outbreak at the zoo’s safari park. Eight western lowland gorillas have contracted the virus, officials said. This was likely due to contact with a zoo worker who tested positive for COVID-19.
“It made us realize that our other monkeys were in danger,” said Nadine Lambski, San Diego Zoo Chief Conservation Officer, to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We wanted to do everything we could to protect them from the virus. After all, we do not know how he will affect them.”
The gorillas had symptoms ranging from a runny nose to coughing and lethargy. But they get well.
Wildlife experts have raised concerns about the coronavirus infecting gorillas and other endangered apes, most of whose DNA matches that of humans. Other wildlife species elsewhere – from minks to tigers – have also contracted the virus.