Unvaccinated snow leopard at San Diego Zoo catches COVID-19

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Ramil is not showing any additional symptoms, the zoo said, but since he shares an enclosure with a female snow leopard and two Amur leopards, staff believe they have been released. The animals were then quarantined and their exhibition closed.

It is unclear how Ramil got infected.

In January, a group of eight gorillas at the zoo’s sister facility, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, contracted COVID-19 from a zoo keeper who had the virus but showed no symptoms.

The now recovered gorilla troop was the first known example of a virus infection in monkeys.

The case prompted the zoo to request an experimental COVID-19 vaccine for animals in case of emergency. The vaccine from Zoetis, an animal health company that was once part of Pfizer, was given to species most at risk of contracting COVID-19, including several primates and big cats.

However, Ramil had not been vaccinated before he was infected.

There is no vaccination order for the staff, but unvaccinated employees must wear masks at all times, the zoo said.

(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)