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A snow leopard at a zoo in Bloomington, Illinois, has died after contracting Covid-19.

Miller Park Zoo introduced the demise of Rilu, 11, which the zoo beforehand mentioned “started coughing and had a raspy respiration starting on 20 November”, in an Instagram post on Thursday.

Noting the animal’s spectacular tail, which was nearly so long as its physique, the zoo mentioned Rilu produced seven offspring which at the moment are a part of its Species Survival Plan.

“Rilu’s character and sweetness might be missed by visitors and workers however he is not going to be forgotten,” mentioned superintendent Jay Tetzloff, including that masks are required in all indoor areas on the Bloomington zoo.

According to the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC), most animal Covid infections come from contact with people “together with house owners, caretakers or others in shut contact”.

Amongst animals susceptible to Covid, the CDC lists companion animals together with cats, canines and ferrets; a number of sorts of huge cats; otters; non-human primates; binturong; coati-mundi; fishing cats; hyenas; mink; and wild white-tailed deer.

The photographer Joel Sartore, whose picture of Rilu accompanied the announcement of the animal’s demise, paid tribute in his personal post.

“Snow leopards are proving extraordinarily vulnerable to the illness and it’s typically deadly,” Sartore mentioned. “In the event you haven’t obtained a vaccination and booster but, please achieve this. It’s extra than simply human lives which are at stake. Thanks.”

In December, three snow leopards on the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska died of problems from Covid-19. Two Sumatran tigers recovered.

In July, zoos in Oakland and Denver introduced they might begin vaccinating tigers, bears and different mammals with a two-dose vaccine first administered in March to gorillas in San Diego.

Zoetis, a New Jersey animal well being firm, has mentioned it has donated greater than 11,000 vaccine doses to nearly 70 zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, as a part of an effort authorised by the US Division of Agriculture.

In December, two hippos at a zoo in Antwerp, Belgium, examined constructive for Covid-19. Imani, 14, and Hermien, 41, confirmed no signs “aside from runny noses”, the zoo mentioned.

Francis Vercammen, a zoo vet, told CNN: “To my data, that is the primary identified contamination on this species.”



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