MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A tiger at the Wildcat Sanctuary in central Minnesota tested positive for COVID-19.
The Minnesota Department of Health announced Tuesday that a 21-year-old Bengal tigress at the Sandstone sanctuary was confirmed positive for the novel coronavirus based on testing results from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.READ MORE: Clarifying COVID: What Do We Need To Know About The J&J Vaccine?
According to the Wildcat Sanctuary, the tiger’s name is Sabrina and she has recovered after receiving care.
The sanctuary had Sabrina tested due to her age after noticing that her and other big cats were showing respiratory symptoms in early January. All of other lions, tigers and cougars showing symptoms at the sanctuary have since recovered.
Although the sanctuary has strict virus protocols in place, management suspects an asymptomatic caretaker exposed one of the cats, who then spread it to others. All staff and caregivers have been tested for COVID-19.READ MORE: After Audio Malfunction, Minnesota H.S. Hockey Ref Belts Out National Anthem
Sabrina is the second animal in Minnesota to test positive for the novel coronavirus. In June 2020, a house cat in Carver County also tested positive.
State health officials say that people can spread the virus to pets through close contact. As such, they advise those who have the virus, or suspect they have it, to avoid contact with pets or other animals.
“We have not seen any evidence of COVID passing from pet or wild captive cats to humans,” said State Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Joni Scheftelk, in a statement. “Yet, in an abundance of caution, MDH is working closely with The Wildcat Sanctuary to understand and monitor the situation.”MORE NEWS: Minnesota Restaurants Hoping To Get People Seated In The Sun: 'Every Degree Helps Sell A Few More Beers'
The Wildcat Sanctuary says several zoos across the country have had big cats test positive for COVID-19. Just last month, gorillas at the San Diego zoo also tested positive.
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