A TIGER has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Bronx Zoo in New York.
Nadia, a four-year-old female Malayan tiger, tested positive for coronavirus last month after developing a “dry cough” while living in the zoo.
The positive test result was confirmed by scientists at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa.
It is believed that she was infected by an asymptomatic zookeeper.
If correct, then the case will represent the first instance of an animal testing positive for coronavirus after being infected by a human.
Nadia’s sister Azul has also developed a dry cough along with three African lions and two Amur tigers also living at the New York zoo.
None of these animals have yet been tested for the virus.
Despite developing COVID-19 all of the animals are expected to make a full recovery.
Nadia is said to be well, though his appetite has decreased.
The Bronx Zoo also confirmed that none of its other big cat residents are showing symptoms of the virus.
“This is the first time that any of us know of anywhere in the world that a person infected the animal and the animal got sick,’ Paul Calle, chief veterinarian at the zoo said.
“We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution and will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world’s understanding of this novel coronavirus.
“Our cats were infected by a person caring for them who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms.”
The Bronx ZOO is currently closed with New York in the grip of coronavirus.
The US city has reported 122,000 cases of COVID-19 and 4,159 deaths.