Four lions at Barcelona Zoo test positive for coronavirus after showing COVID symptoms

Ross McGuinness
·2-min read
Lioness Cleaning Tail of a Lion
A lion and lioness at Barcelona Zoo in Spain. (Getty)

Four lions at a zoo in Spain have tested positive for coronavirus.

The animals were tested at Barcelona Zoo after they showed symptoms of COVID-19, Reuters reported.

It is only the second known case of big cats contracting the virus, after five tigers and three lions at the Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive in April.

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Three female lions – Zala, Nima and Run Run – as well as a male called Kiumbe, were tested at Barcelona Zoo and returned positive results.

Two staff at the zoo also tested positive for COVID-19 after the outbreak was first detected last month.

An investigation is under way into how the lions became infected.

The animals were tested using the same polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kits used on humans.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: A COVID-19 testing site is seen in a parking lot at the Bronx Zoo on April 23, 2020 in New York City. Seven more big cats have reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) after a tiger tested positive earlier in the month. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)
A number of lions and tigers tested positive for coronavirus at Bronx Zoo in New York in April. (Getty Images)

The Veterinary Service of Barcelona has contacted counterparts at the Bronx Zoo. All of the animals who tested positive at the New York zoo recovered.

In a statement, Barcelona Zoo said: "The zoo has contacted and collaborated with international experts such as the Veterinary Service of the Bronx Zoo, the only one that has documented cases of Sars-CoV-2 infection in felines.

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"The lions were given veterinary care for their mild clinical condition – similar to a very mild flu condition – through anti-inflammatory treatment and close monitoring, and the animals responded well."

The four-year-old male and the females, who are all 16 years old, have had no contact with other animals at the zoo, which remains open to visitors.

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