WILDLIFE

4 African lions at Utah’s Hogle Zoo test positive for COVID-19 Delta Variant

Oct 25, 2021, 6:21 PM | Updated: 7:46 pm
Four African lions at Utah's Hogle Zoon have test positive for COVID-19 Delta Variant Photo credit:...
Four African lions at Utah's Hogle Zoon have test positive for COVID-19 Delta Variant Photo credit: Utah's Hogle Zoo

SALT LAKE CITY — Four African lions at Utah’s Hogle Zoo have tested positive for the COVID-19 Delta Variant, according to zoo officials.

Zoo officials are not sure how the lions contracted the illness. However, they were tested after showing symptoms of sneezing and coughing. 

Dr. Erika Crook, an associate veterinarian for Utah’s Hogle Zoo, said she and assistant took a nasal swab sample of the four African lions. The samples were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, and all came back with positive results.

“This is the very first time we have submitted any diagnostic samples of any kind for COVID-19 during the entire pandemic,” Crook said. 

Crook says taking a sample taken from their nose is something the Lions are not used to.

“Lions have never had that done before,” she said. “But they were very, I’m not going to say willing, but they definitely put up with it and they got a food reward.”

Crook says the lions seemed to be more cooperative toward the nasal swab than some of her own family members.

“My own daughters have been swabbed for COVID-19, always negative thankfully,” she said. “But I feel like the lions were possibly more willing than my daughters.”

Despite testing positive,  Crook isn’t concerned about the lions spreading the illness.

“I don’t really have any concerns for our guests coming over to Hogle Zoo,” she said. “I encourage them to come to Hogle Zoo. The lion enclosure is such that most of the viewing is behind glass. And the areas that aren’t glass, there is a mesh. But the public is pretty far away from the lions so I don’t think there is much risk for transmitting from one to another.”

Crook says there is a vaccine for animals. She says it is formulated for animals, so it is different from the vaccine used for humans.

“We are discussing the pros and cons of vaccinating our collection,” she said. 

Read more

Today’s Top Stories

Wildlife

ZooLights amur tiger...
Kelsey Earl

Utah’s Hogle Zoo introduces new Amur tiger, Sasha

Sasha, an Amur tiger from Kansas, is making herself at home in the Asian Highlands exhibit at Utah's Hogle Zoo. About 500 Amur tigers live in the wild.
4 days ago
report a wildlife sighting...
Kate Davis with Utah DWR

Not every wildlife sighting needs reporting, experts say

Ever wondered when to report a wildlife sighting? You don't need to report every sighting of wild animals, but needed reporting helps keep all of us safe.
6 days ago
Bighorn Sheep Photo: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources...
Heather Kelly

Desert Bighorn sheep are getting a nursery in Utah

Whenever we have a need to supplement or create new populations in the state, we will have our own internal bighorn sheep population and can be self sufficient in maintaining healthy herds.
7 days ago
Great Barrier Reef, Nov. 24, 2021. The Great Barrier Reef has "given birth" in its annual coral spa...
Francesca Street, CNN

Great Barrier Reef explodes to life in ‘magical’ spawning event

The Great Barrier Reef "gave birth" in its annual coral spawn, creating a cacophony of color on the Australian landmark.
7 days ago
Cinnamon Creek...
Simone Seikaly

Utah DWR wins Cinnamon Creek property auction

The Cinnamon Creek property provides public access for hunting, angling, and other wildlife-related recreation in northern Utah.
21 days ago
A spring limited-entry turkey hunt will be held next April, according to the DWR. The DWR will begi...
Mark Jones

Applications for Utah’s spring turkey hunt due on Dec. 27

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will begin accepting applications for a spring limited-entry turkey hunt on Dec. 1.
22 days ago
4 African lions at Utah’s Hogle Zoo test positive for COVID-19 Delta Variant