Detroit Zoo to vaccinate gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers and lions against COVID-19

Posted at 11:23 AM, Aug 30, 2021

The Detroit Zoo announced Monday it would begin vaccinating some of its animals against COVID-19.

According to the zoo, gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers and lions will be the first to receive doses.

The zoo is using a special vaccine that was developed exclusively for animals by veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis, which has been authorized on a case-by-case basis by the USDA.

"The animals routinely get other vaccinations. Many of the mammals are trained to present themselves to our animal care staff for minor medical procedures, including vaccinations," said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society. "We're both thankful and relieved a special vaccine is now available to protect against COVID-19."

At other zoos across the country, lions, tigers, leopards and gorillas have contracted COVID-19. In Europe and India, a tiger and a lion died of the virus.

As of Monday, no COVID-19 infections have been found in animals at the Detroit Zoo.

"Much like we vaccinate dogs for things like parvovirus, distemper or rabies, this is needed to protect animals at the Zoo," said Dr. Ann Duncan, the director of animal health for the Detroit Zoological Society.

This story was originally published by Scripps station WXYZ in Detroit.