Gorillas Have Tested Positive for Coronavirus at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

PA - Press Association STUDIO

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has been closed to visitors since December 6, 2020, in order to try prevent the spread of COVID-19 in California. Fast forward one month later, and on January 6, 2021, zoo officials noticed that two gorillas were coughing. They decided to have the gorillas’ feces tested, and the gorillas tested positive for COVID-19.

Lisa Peterson, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s executive director, told The Associated Press that there are 8 gorillas that live together, and they believe that they all have the coronavirus. Several of them are coughing, but so far there have not been any extreme symptoms. They are all being tested for COVID-19, but they are going to continue to let the gorillas live together since it might be harmful to separate these social animals.

Peterson explained that the gorillas are not being treated specifically for coronavirus right now since their symptoms are mild; however, the gorillas are being monitored closely. Zoo officials are talking with experts who treat humans with coronavirus to try to plan how to treat the gorillas if their symptoms get worse.

Zoo officials are paying close attention to how the gorillas handle the novel coronavirus in order to pass along information to scientists and health officials so that they can work to protect the gorillas living in Africa.

Watch the video below to learn more about what is believed to be the first transmission of COVID-19 from humans to gorillas and to learn how the gorillas caught COVID-19.

In order to protect the employees and the animals, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has increased their safety measures. Starting January 11, employees are now required to wear a face shield and goggles while working with any of the animals.

Does it surprise you that a gorilla could catch COVID-19 from a human? Do you think it’s a wise decision to keep the gorillas together?