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Indianapolis Zoo lions recovering from COVID

The lions were tested when the two females showed respiratory and digestive symptoms.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Zoo's three African lions are recovering after testing positive for the delta variant of COVID on Oct. 14. 

The lions were tested when the two females showed respiratory and digestive symptoms. The male lion has not shown any symptoms but did also test positive.

Credit: Indianapolis Zoo/Carla Knapp

When zookeepers noticed the symptoms in the females, the lions were taken off exhibit and started on treatment. The two younger lions are doing well, but the older female continues to be treated for respiratory symptoms.

It is not clear how the lions caught the virus, as all zoo staff is vaccinated. The staff working with the lions did not show any symptoms and wore masks and gloves while working with the lions. Those staff members have all been tested for COVID and are negative. 

Zoo veterinarians have administered the first shot of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to dozens of the animals at the zoo including lions, tigers, cheetahs and apes. Some have received a second dose. So far none of the animals have had an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

The zoo said the lions received their first dose over two weeks ago, and that likely reduced the severity of their symptoms.

There have been no other animal cases of COVID-19 at the zoo.