SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KRON) – Gorillas at the San Diego Zoo are among the latest to test positive for COVID-19.
“Despite all of our efforts and dedication from our team members, our gorilla troop has tested positive for SARSCoV2,” Executive Director of San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Lisa Peterson, said.
In an announcement made Monday, the San Diego Zoo confirmed two of its primates tested positive last week for coronavirus, a third is said to be showing symptoms as well.
“We decided to test the troop because we saw some mild symptoms that were similar to those that humans would experience,” Peterson said.
The zoo performed fecal testing on the troop after two gorillas started coughing last Wednesday.
Though only two have tested positive, the zoo believes since the troops live together, it’s possible all members have been exposed.
“This is just an area that’s long been of concern human to animal transmission,” Governor Newsom said.
Governor Newsom mentioned the cases during his press conference Monday. It’s believed the troop acquired the virus from an asymptomatic staff member.
“That’s despite all precautions we take, we follow CDC guidelines and San Diego health guidelines. The team wears PPE around all of our wildlife,” Peterson said.
The positive gorillas are said to be doing okay — drinking, eating, and interacting with one another but they are still experiencing mild symptoms.
“Like we’ve seen in the public, this virus is very very tricky. We’ve done everything we can to respond to it and make sure we’re taking all precautions and guidelines we can,” Peterson said.
The zoo has been closed to the public since December 6th.
This is the first known instance of natural transmission to great apes, and it’s unknown if they will have any serious reaction.