Detroit Zoo to vaccinate gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers and lions against COVID-19

Posted at 10:46 AM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 23:23:53-04

(WXYZ) — The Detroit Zoo announced Monday it is vaccinating animals against COVID-19 who are believed to be the most susceptible to the virus.

According to the zoo, gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers and lions are the first to receive doses.

The zoo is using a special vaccine that was developed exclusively for animals by veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis, which has been authorized on a case-by-case basis by the USDA.

“The animals routinely get other vaccinations. Many of the mammals are trained to present themselves to our animal care staff for minor medical procedures, including vaccinations. We’re both thankful and relieved a special vaccine is now available to protect against COVID-19,” said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the DZS.

At other zoos in the country, lions, tigers, leopards and gorillas have contracted COVID-19. In Europe and India, a tiger and a lion have died.

As of Monday, no COVID-19 infections have been found in animals at the Detroit Zoo.

“Much like we vaccinate dogs for things like parvovirus, distemper or rabies, this is needed to protect animals at the Zoo,” said Dr. Ann Duncan, director of animal health for the DZS.