Her name is Nadia, and she was the first of her kind to be tested for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. This was 13 months ago, and she was four years old at the time. Keepers noticed that she’d developed a dry cough, so they sedated her and performed the same diagnostics and blood work performed on humans who present symptoms.
The results of those tests made Nadia, a Malayan tiger at New York City’s Bronx Zoo, the first wild-but-captive animal to be diagnosed with COVID-19. But things were just getting started for the zoo.
In the weeks that followed, six other big cats—three African lions, two Siberian tigers and Nadia’s sister—displayed a loss of appetite and the same, telling dry cough as Nadia before them. Their bodies had turned hosts to SARS-CoV-2.
There was unbridled panic, because we knew squat about COVID-19 transmission this time last year. Just before the Bronx Zoo cases, two dogs in Hong Kong—a German