A cougar at In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Educational Center in Wylie has tested positive for COVID-19 and is the first cougar in the United States to contract the disease, with only one other case being reported in South Africa, In- Sync stated in a release.
While sedated for routine medical check-ups, In-Sync Exotics’ veterinarian performed a nasopharyngeal swab to test for the presence of COVID-19 in the cougar, and the results came back positive. Additionally, three tigers also tested positive, officials said. All four exotic cats are doing well and exhibiting no symptoms. The cats are all being closely monitored by In-Sync Exotics’ veterinarian, staff, and volunteers.
While the cougar may be the first of its species, there have been many other tigers, lions and various other exotic animals across the country that have also tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.
Safety measures, instituted at the beginning of the pandemic, include mandatory face masks by all staff, volunteers, Sync and visitors over the age of three. Weekly COVID-19 testing is conducted on all staff members. In-Sync Exotics is an outdoor experience for all visitors, with two fences between visitors and the cats, and no direct contact is allowed.
No cases of transmission of the COVID-19 virus from feline to human or interspecies from feline to other species have been documented.
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From Staff Reports • [email protected]