An unvaccinated snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo contracted Covid-19.
Keepers noted that Ramil, a nine-year-old male snow leopard, had a cough and a runny nose Thursday. Later, two separate tests of his feces confirmed the presence of the coronavirus, the zoo said in a statement Friday.
Ramil shows no additional symptoms, the zoo said, but because he shares an enclosure with a female snow leopard and two Amur leopards, staff assume they have been exposed. As a result, the animals were quarantined and their exhibit closed.
It is not clear how Ramil became infected.
In January, a troop of eight gorillas at the zoo’s sister facility, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, contracted Covid-19 from a keeper who had the virus but was showing no symptoms.
The gorilla troop, which has since recovered, became the first known example of the virus that infects apes.
The case prompted the zoo to request an experimental Covid-19 vaccine for animals for emergency use. The vaccine from Zoetis, the animal health company that was once part of Pfizer, was administered to the species most at risk of contracting the virus, including several primates and big cats.
However, Ramil had not been vaccinated prior to his infection.
There is no vaccination mandate for staff, but unvaccinated employees must wear masks at all times, the zoo said.