Louisiana zoo animals are getting vaccinated against COVID-19


Louisiana's Audubon Zoo is joining a list of other zoos and aquariums across the U. S. vaccinating resident animals against COVID-19. The zoo announced on Tuesday that the measure is an "additional layer of protection," and did not cite any cases among its animals.

The vaccine was developed by the company Zoetis, and was specially made for animals. The company has donated more than 11,000 doses of the vaccine to dozens of zoos, conservatories, sanctuaries and other organizations across 27 states. The vaccine, according to Zoetis, has been authorized for experimental use on a case-by-case basis by the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

At the New Orleans-based zoo, the vaccine is first being given to gorillas and orangutans. The organization is also planning to vaccinate cats and mustelids, including otters, at both the zoo and the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.

The zoo said that all animals receiving the vaccine "voluntarily participate in their own health through positive reinforcement training." They will not be put under anesthesia to be vaccinated, the zoo said, and have been trained to sit, stand or present their bodies to staff.

"It's very important to us to protect our animals against COVID-19 and the Delta variant," Audubon's Senior Veterinarian Bob MacLean said in a statement. "We have been evaluating the scientific literature on animal susceptibility throughout the pandemic, and we are eager to protect our animals."

In June, California's Oakland Zoo became the first zoo to give the vaccine to its animals, including tigers, black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions and ferrets. Z... (Read more)

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