Louisiana’s Audubon Zoo will vaccinate its resident animals against COVID-19, the zoo announced Tuesday, according to CBS News.
The vaccine being used was developed for animals by the company Zoetis. The company donated more than 11,000 doses of the vaccine to zoos, conservatories, sanctuaries and other organizations, according to a press release. The vaccine has been approved for experimental use on a case-by-case basis by the Department of Agriculture, the outlet reported.
The vaccine will be given first to gorillas and orangutans. The zoo said that all animals receiving the vaccine “voluntarily participate in their own health through positive reinforcement training.” The animals have been trained to sit, stand or present their bodies to staff, according to CBS News.
Because there is evidence that primates, carnivores, & other mammals can be affected by COVID-19, the Zoo’s gorillas & orangutans are currently in the process of receiving their first dose of the animal COVID-19 vaccine created by Zoetis. Read more here: https://t.co/oDc2PymZpy pic.twitter.com/oc0fpQCjIw
— Audubon Nature Institute (@AudubonNature) October 12, 2021
“It’s very important to us to protect our animals against Covid-19 and the Delta variant. We have been evaluating the scientific literature on animal susceptibility throughout the pandemic, and we are eager to protect our animals,” Senior Veterinarian Bob Maclean said in a statement. The zoo said that there have been no recorded cases of COVID-19 on any of their animals. (RELATED: 18 Gorillas With Bad Coughs, Runny Noses Test Positive For COVID-19 At Atlanta Zoo)
California’s Oakland Zoo was the first to give the vaccine to their zoo animals. The risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to humans is low but humans can spread the virus to animals. There have been recorded cases in pets, zoo animals and white-tailed deer, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.