A tiger at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo in New York has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger, was tested by the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory after she — along with six other cats at the zoo — developed a dry cough, the WCS said in a news release. They are all expected to recover.
According to CNN, Nadia is the first known animal to be infected in the United States, as well as the first tiger to test positive.
“Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers,” WCS said. “It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries.”
According to the organization, the cats were infected by a zoo employee who was “asymptomatically infected with the virus” while caring for them.
“Appropriate preventive measures are now in place for all staff who are caring for them, and the other cats in our four WCS zoos, to prevent further exposure of any other of our zoo cats,” WCS said.
No other animals in the zoo are showing symptoms of the virus, according to WCS. The zoo has been closed to the public since March 16.
“These are extremely hard days for all of us – no matter where we live and work. We will ensure that whatever we can learn from these circumstances will be used to better understand and combat this disease,” zoo director Jim Breheny said in a statement to ABC.
PEOPLE reached out to WCS’ spokespersons, who offered no further comment.
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