COVID-19 : Four lions at Barcelona zoo test positive for coronavirus

Four lions at a Barcelona zoo have tested positive for COVID-19, officials have said.

Three 16-year-old females, named Zala, Nima and Run Run and Kiumbe, a four-year-old male, were tested after keepers noticed they showed slight symptoms of the disease.

They are suffering symptoms similar to very mild flu, with no signs of difficulty in breathing and have been treated with anti-inflammatories, El Pais said.

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It’s the second time big cats in a zoo are known to have contracted coronavirus, the first being at the Bronx Zoo in New York, where four tigers and three lions tested positive in April.

All the animals recovered.

The Veterinary Service of Barcelona contacted their colleagues in New York for advice on how to deal with the outbreak.

Keepers carried out PCR tests on the lions in the same way as humans are tested as the animals are accustomed to contact with zoo staff, two of whom tested positive for coronavirus last month.

According to El Pais, the staff at Zoo Barcelona worked with the lions, but the zoo has not confirmed this, and officials have launched an investigation into how the animals became infected.

Barcelona zoo said in a statement: “The zoo has contacted and collaborated with international experts such as the Veterinary Service of the Bronx Zoo, the only one that has documented cases of Sars-CoV-2 infection in felines.

“The lions were given veterinary care for their mild clinical condition – similar to a very mild flu condition – through anti-inflammatory treatment and close monitoring, and the animals responded well.”

The lions have had no contact with other animals at the zoo, which is open to visitors.

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