Catastrophe averted: National Zoo’s lions and tigers recover from COVID-19

Catastrophe averted: The Smithsonian’s National Zoo lions and tigers are back to eating and behaving normally after a COVID-19 diagnosis in mid-September, the zoo said Friday.

After the initial positive COVID-19 results, a follow-up test showed “undetermined” results from eight lion and tiger fecal samples collected on Oct. 4. The zoo said the lab indicated those results are “likely negative,” as they detected no virus — with the exception of one lion named Luke, whose sample was still positive.

Last week, the zoo said that six lions and two tigers were “improving and eating” but were also being treated for secondary bacterial phenomena.

Over the next week or two, the zoo said it expects the big cats to be clear of the virus, although it’s sending two more sets of samples for testing.

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Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

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