DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Zoo announced Tuesday, Feb. 8, five of its western lowland gorillas have tested positive for COVID-19.
None of them are showing symptoms.
All other gorillas have so far tested negative.
“Great apes and big cats are known to be at risk of COVID-19 infection, which is why the Dallas Zoo has regularly tested these animals throughout the pandemic and had instituted strict protocols to protect them against any potential exposure,” the zoo said in a post on its Facebook page.
The zoo said the gorillas do not need any treatment right now since they are not showing symptoms, but both troops “will be closely monitored by our zoologists and veterinarians and will be tested every few days until they have cleared the virus.”
These infections occurred in an area of the Zoo where COVID-19 protocols are already the most rigorous, the zoo said.
Zoologists are tested weekly before entering these areas for their shifts and use extensive PPE (including fit-tested N95 masks).
“We will continue these protocols, along with increased testing for staff to ensure they remain protected as well,” the zoo said.
Zoo visitors do not pose a transmission threat to the gorillas, or vice versa, given the distance between the areas used by guests and the animals’ habitats, the Dallas Zoo said.
“While we are concerned about these preliminary test results, we are encouraged by the fact that the gorillas are not showing symptoms. Our animal care staff is prepared to provide treatment if that changes, and we will continue to take every precaution available to keep our staff, guests, and animals safe and healthy,” the Dallas Zoo said.