Akron Zoo vaccinates animals susceptible to COVID-19; the lions recovered from the virus

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Akron Zoo is almost fully vaccinated.



Akron Zoo's male lion Donovan was among five at the zoo to test positive for COVID in late September.


© Photo courtesy of Akron Zoo
Akron Zoo’s male lion Donovan was among five at the zoo to test positive for COVID in late September.

The animals most susceptible to the virus have already received the COVID-19 vaccine or are about to do so.

It comes after the five lions that made Akron their home – males Tamarr and Donovan and females Mandisa, Kataba and Msinga – all tested positive for the coronavirus in late September.

The exposure is believed to come from a staff member who later tested positive for COVID-19.

The lions showed minor symptoms of the virus and have since been closely monitored by medical staff at the zoo.

Spokeswoman Elena Bell said on Thursday that the lions will be among the animals vaccinated, have made a full recovery and have not tested positive for the virus since Tuesday.



Akron Zoo's lioness Kataba was among five to contract COVID in late September.


© Photo courtesy of Akron Zoo
Akron Zoo’s lioness Kataba was among five to contract COVID in late September.

As a precaution, the zoo has started vaccinations for all of its species vulnerable to COVID, including Sumatran tigers, snow leopards, jaguars, white-cheeked gibbons, golden lion tamarins, lemurs, fruit bats Straw-colored ambassadors, river otters, skunk, red wolves, coyotes, red pandas, Speke’s gazelles, goats and alpacas.

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The vaccines were developed by animal health company Zoetis, which donated the vaccines to Akron Zoo.

The injections – designed specifically for animals – are given in two doses and have been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Ohio State Veterinarian.

“We are very grateful that our lions have fully recovered from COVID-19,” said Doug Piekarz, president and CEO of Akron Zoo, in a statement. “The exceptional staff at Akron Zoo have worked tirelessly over the past five weeks to provide extraordinary care to our lions. As we vaccinate our other susceptible animals, we are relieved that we can offer protection against this virus so that none of our other resident animals have to deal with the medical challenges of our lions. “

Zoo staff who work directly with animals susceptible to the virus should be fully vaccinated.

Piekarz said the zoo also requires staff who directly care for these animals wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE).

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected]

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Akron Zoo vaccinates susceptible animals to COVID-19; the lions recovered from the virus

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