Two hyenas at Denver Zoo test positive for COVID-19

Two hyenas at Denver Zoo test positive for COVID-19 1

Two hyenas at the Denver Zoo have tested positive for COVID-19 – but they’re laughing it off and are expected to make a full recovery.

The cases involving Ngozi, 22, and Kibo, 23, at the 80-acre zoological garden are the first confirmed ones among the animals worldwide, according to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

The spotted hyenas are experiencing mild symptoms — including slight lethargy, nasal discharge and some coughing — but their energy levels are normal, according to the zoo.

“Hyenas are famously tough, resilient animals that are known to be highly tolerant to anthrax, rabies and distemper. They are otherwise healthy and expected to make a full recovery,” the zoo said in a statement.

Samples from a variety of animals at the zoo were tested for the bug after several lions became ill, according to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

The hyena samples came back presumptively positive at a lab at Colorado State University, and the cases were confirmed by the national lab.

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Kibo was also confirmed to have the virus.
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In addition to the two hyenas and 11 lions, two tigers have previously tested positive for the virus at the zoo. The other infected animals have either fully recovered or are on the path to a full recovery.

“We now know that many other species may be susceptible to COVID-19 based on multiple reports, and we continue to use the highest level of care and precaution when working with all of our 3,000 animals and 450 different species,” the zoo said in its statement.

Infections have been reported among a variety species worldwide, mostly in animals that had close contact with a person with COVID-19, according the US Department of Agriculture, which oversees the NVSL.

The entrance of the Denver Zoo.
The zoo confirmed in a statement that the hyenas are expected to make a full recovery.
Shutterstock / Mia2you

Scientists are still learning about COVID-19 infections in animals, but based on the information available, the risk of them spreading the virus to people is low.

The Denver Zoo is home to over 3,000 animals and 450 different species.

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