TAMPA, Fla. — Editor's Note: The above image is a file photo from ZooTampa.
Two Malayan tigers at ZooTampa have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a news release.
A 16-year-old tiger and a 7-year-old tiger were tested by the medical care team after they were "exhibiting mild respiratory symptoms," zoo leaders explain.
“At this point, we are unsure how the vaccinated animals got the virus, but we have seen instances around the world where the virus has been transmitted from humans to big cats and primates even with strict biosecurity protocols in place,” Dr. Cynthia Stringfield, senior vice president of animal health, conservation and education, wrote in a statement.
Following approval by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, nasal swabs and fecal samples of the animals were reportedly sent out.
“The Zoo’s animal care team works rigorously with many of the animals to allow our medical team to conduct tests such as the nasal swab required for testing with the voluntary participation of the animal,” Stringfield wrote.
The two tigers, who are being treated and monitored around the clock, will not be around for public viewing or in their night quarters as of now, the zoo explains.
ZooTampa has a COVID-19 prevention plan for all animals which includes vaccination requirements and also the use of "personal protective equipment" by the staff.
“We are always monitoring susceptible species and will continue to review our protocols which follow the latest scientific data and government recommendations,” Stringfield wrote.
“The safety of our team, the animals entrusted to our care and guests remains our number one priority.”