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Three snow leopards in a Nebraska zoo have died from complications due to COVID-19.
The Lincoln Children’s Zoo also announced that two Sumatran tigers, Axl and Kumar, contracted the virus but have recovered.
“Our leopards, Ranney, Everest, and Makalu, were beloved by our entire community inside and outside of the zoo,” a statement from the zoo read. “This loss is truly heartbreaking, and we are all grieving together.”
The zoo insisted that it continues to take every COVID-19 precaution to prevent the spread of the virus to humans and animals.
The zoo first reported the animals had tested positive for the virus on Oct. 13 after zoo staff noticed the animals exhibiting symptoms of the disease, CBS News reported.
Staff treated the animals with steroids and antibiotics to prevent further infection.
No other animals at the zoo have shown signs of infection, and the staff has not yet identified the cause of the initial infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains that the spread of COVID-19 between humans and animals remains low, though it can happen in some cases, such as the currently-accepted origin of the virus, which says the virus spread from a bat to a human.
Humans have, however, more easily spread COVID-19 to animals, infecting animals in several cases since the pandemic started.
One of the most recurrent issues is the infection of mink, which has led to the slaughter of around one million mink across Spain and Holland, while U.S. mink farms in Oregon, Utah, Michigan and Wisconsin each detected cases.
Humans have also spread the virus to cats and dogs in some cases.
Animal pharmaceutical company Zoetis developed a COVID-19 vaccine for animals, which has been used to protect primates at zoos across the country.
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