And I've just published my @NatGeo story on gorillas testing positive for COVID-19 for the first time: nationalgeographic.com/animals/2021/0…. THREAD on what I learned to follow.
Here's my story. I spoke with the @sandiegozoo. The gorillas live in a troop of 8, led by a silverback. They're being kept together, as opposed to being socially isolated (like a positive human would be!), because it's best for their well-being. nationalgeographic.com/animals/2021/0…
So we don't know the names of the three, because the zoo is viewing this as a troop-wide situation. All together, all being closely monitored. Some still showing symptoms like runny noses and lethargy (the two young ones are bouncing around less than usual, for example).
Gorillas are now the seventh animal species to have been confirmed positive for NATURAL contraction of COVID-19, following tigers, lions, mink, domestic cats, dogs, a snow leopard. (Other species have been deliberately infected in labs, which is why I specify natural).
We knew, through studies, that gorillas were susceptible to the virus. Read this November @NatGeo story for more. There are 5,000 gorillas left in the wild, and they live in groups. Researchers have been concerned about how COVID could imperil wild pops: nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/1…
I want to note—b/c I'm always asked—that animal testing occurs in veterinary labs and has NO crossover w/ labs testing human cases.

Other than some documented cases of mink to human transmission, there is NO evidence that other animals can transmit the virus to us & get us sick.
LAST: all 3 U.S. zoo animal outbreaks have been at AZA-accredited zoos. This doesn't surprise me. AZA zoos have protocols in place for monitoring health AND testing. BUT there are hundreds of roadside zoos in the U.S. that don't—it's unknown how many pos. cases may go undetected.

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More from @natashaldaly

3 Dec 20
Today, the House is scheduled to vote on the Big Cat Public Safety Act. The bill seeks to federally ban private ownership of AND public contact with big cats—essentially ending the U.S. cub petting industry.

I’ve been covering this industry for @natgeo for a while now. THREAD!
PROCEDURE: IF the bill passes the House, it'll go to the Senate, but it's unclear if it will be brought to the floor for a vote in this Congress. It’s v. late in the term. If NOT, it'll have to be re-introduced next Congress. Still, passing the House now would indicate momentum.
SIGNIFICANCE OF ACT:
-Currently, big cat ownership is left to the states & there’s a patchwork of regs. 4 states have no regs, others require permits, others ban ownership.
-The demand for cub petting is main impetus behind rampant breeding of big cats & their commercial trade.
Read 29 tweets
29 Jul 20
EXCLUSIVE: The first dog positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the U.S. was a German shepherd named Buddy. He has died.

We knew little about US pet cases before now. No identities, scant details, few updates.

Buddy’s owners reached out to me to tell their story: nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/0…
Buddy likely had lymphoma. It's unclear if he was more susceptible to contracting the virus. Buddy’s family, like thousands of families grappling with the effects of the coronavirus around the world, is left with many questions and few answers.
Buddy's owners say they felt a lot of frustration that health experts didn't try to learn more about how the virus might be affecting their dog's body. No one is saying anyone did anything wrong here, including the owners, but their experience was one of confusion and heartbreak.
Read 10 tweets
22 Apr 20
BREAKING: The USDA reports that two pet cats in New York have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. These are the first domestic pets in the U.S. to test positive. Both expected to recover.

*Note: there remains NO EVIDENCE that domestic animals can pass the virus to humans*
The first cat's owners have *not* been confirmed to have COVID-19. They may been asymptomatic and transmitted the virus to the cat.

The second cat's owner *did* test positive for COVID-19 prior to the cat being tested. A second cat in the house has no symptoms.
NEW guidance from the CDC:
-Don't let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
-Keep cats indoors when possible.
-Walk dogs on a leash, staying 6 feet away from other people & animals.
-Avoid dog parks or places where a large # of people & dogs gather.
Read 5 tweets
5 Apr 20
BREAKING: A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for Covid-19. 6 other tigers and lions at the zoo are also showing symptoms. Believed to have been infected by an asymptomatic zoo worker. All doing well. To my knowledge, this is the first animal to test positive in the U.S.
AND here's my @natgeo story, after chatting with the Bronx Zoo's chief vet: nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/0…
KEY POINTS:
The tiger, Nadia, was one of seven big cats showing symptoms. Only Nadia was tested (she had to be sedated).
All seven big cats are doing well. Likely contracted the virus from an asymptomatic zoo staffer. Only possibility, says Paul Calle, the zoo's chief vet.
Read 8 tweets

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