Three snow leopards have died of COVID-19 at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska, officials say. It follows the death of another snow leopard at a South Dakota zoo last month.
“It is with deep sadness that we inform our community that three snow leopards at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo have passed away due to complications of COVID-19,” the zoo said in a statement. “This loss is truly heartbreaking, and we are all grieving together.”
The zoo announced on October 13 that three snow leopards and two Sumatran tigers had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19 in humans, after showing signs of the illness. The tigers, however, are believed to have made a full recovery.
Last month, a snow leopard at the Great Plains Zoo in South Dakota also died of coronavirus.
SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in a number of animal species worldwide, though deaths are rare in large animals. Species affected by coronavirus include cats, dogs, mink, otters, ferrets, lions, tigers, pumas, snow leopards, gorillas, and white-tailed deer.