Covid-19 infects San Diego Zoo snow leopard

Evie M.

I'm not sure if this story is fascinating or terrifying. A 9-year-old male snow leopard named Ramil was diagnosed with Covid-19 after he came down with a cough and runny nose. The snow leopard's caretakers had his stool screened for coronavirus after he fell ill on Thursday. Two separate tests came back positive.

The San Diego Zoo have to wait for confirmation of the infection from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but while they do, Ramil is under an intense watch. Chief Conservation and Wildlife Health Officer Nadine Lamberski says: "I know that this cat is going to get the best possible care, and I'm confident that the team has the expertise to manage this situation."

Ramil, according to officials is said to be "doing well" and is only suffering from a cough and runny nose. Ramils roommates in his habitat, which is now closed to visitors--a two Amur leopards and a female snow leopard are also being quarantined as they have been exposed.

The San Diego Zoo notes that Ramil had yet to receive a vaccine against Covid-19, though experimental shots have only been given out since March after a keeper accidently spread Covid-19 to eight gorillas, who recovered.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there have been "multiple reports" of zoo and companian animals falling ill with the virus and that "most" contracted it after engaging with Covid-positive humans.

"We've been vaccinating animals almost daily. We're doing it as quickly and as responsibly as possible," says Lamberski. "It's all interconnected, and what affects the health of one affects the health of all."

I hope Ramil makes a speedy recovery! What are your thoughts?

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