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National Zoo feeds COVID-19-infected lions and tigers chicken broth after refusing meat

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comfort food! National Zoo keepers feed Covid-infected lions and tigers chicken broth and baby food after big cats refused to eat meat

  • Big cats infected with COVID at the National Zoo in Washington DC don’t eat meat, so zookeepers feed them foods like chicken broth and baby food
  • A Sumatran tiger, two Amur tigers and six African lions all tested positive for coronavirus, with some still showing decreased appetite, fatigue and coughing
  • “We saw a real decrease in appetite, so this week they did more to stimulate their appetite,” zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson said Friday.
  • Zookeepers at the National Zoo say they first saw the animals’ COVID-19 symptoms on Sept. 11 and 12, according to the outlet
  • The sick cats are treated with anti-inflammatories and anti-nausea drugs, as well as antibiotics to ward off bacterial pneumonia
  • No other animals at the zoo have shown signs of infection, zoo officials said










Lions and tigers infected with COVID-19 at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC are fed chicken broth, goat cheese and baby food after the big cats stopped eating their meat.

The animals showed signs of improvement a week after the zoo unveiled a Sumatran tiger, two Amur tigers and six African lions that all tested positive for coronavirus.

But some still show a loss of appetite, fatigue and breathlessness, the Seattle Times reports.

A female Sumatran tiger named Damai, a male Amur tiger named Metis and a female Amur tiger named Nikita are all “eating and alert,” but Nikita and Damai are still coughing “very mildly.”

Meanwhile, two lionesses, Naba and Amahle, and a male lion named Luke have also shown improvements, the zoo official said in a statement.

Pictured: Luke, a lion at the National Zoo in DC, is one of the animals in the facility that has tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said

A female Sumatran tiger named Damai pictured, a male Amur tiger named Metis, and a female Amur tiger named Nikita are all 'eating and alert', but Nikita and Damai are still coughing 'mildly'

A female Sumatran tiger named Damai pictured, a male Amur tiger named Metis, and a female Amur tiger named Nikita are all ‘eating and alert’, but Nikita and Damai are still coughing ‘mildly’

On Friday, zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson said that keepers responsible for supervising the big cats had noticed that some of the wild animals were not eating or drinking.

“We saw a real decrease in appetite, so this week they did more to stimulate their appetite,” she told the Times.

Zookeepers at the National Zoo say they first saw the animals’ COVID-19 symptoms on Sept. 11 and 12, according to the outlet.

Caretakers have since added baby food, chicken stock, elk meat and goat cheese to the animals’ diets, with zoo officials hoping the strong smell of the new kitchen will stimulate the big cats’ senses and appetites.

Zookeepers at Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC feed chicken broth to sick big cats infected with COVID-19

Zookeepers at Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC feed chicken broth to sick big cats infected with COVID-19

Zoo officials have also introduced baby food into lions and tigers' diets as the big cats refused to eat their usual diet of meat due to the coronavirus

Zoo officials have also introduced baby food into lions and tigers’ diets as the big cats refused to eat their usual diet of meat due to the coronavirus

Goat cheese and milk is another food offered to the infected big cats, as zookeepers hope the pungent smell of the food will stimulate the wild animal's senses and appetite

Goat cheese and milk is another food offered to the infected big cats, as zookeepers hope the pungent smell of the food will stimulate the wild animal’s senses and appetite

“Last weekend zookeepers observed decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing and lethargy” in six African lions, a Sumatran tiger and two tigers from Siberia, all of which tested positive for Covid in preliminary tests, the zoo said in a statement.

The sick cats are also treated with anti-inflammatories and anti-nausea medications, as well as antibiotics to ward off bacterial pneumonia.

People who have visited the zoo are not at risk because of the distance between them and the cats, and no other animals have shown signs of infection, the zoo said.

The wave of illness comes as several U.S. zoos, including those in Washington, announced Tuesday the launch of a vaccination campaign for animals susceptible to Covid-19.

Meanwhile, two lionesses, Naba and Amahle (pictured) have also shown improvements, the zoo official said in a statement

Meanwhile, two lionesses, Naba and Amahle (pictured) have also shown improvements, the zoo official said in a statement

Primates have become infected in several zoos. Several gorillas at the Atlanta zoo tested positive last week.

No other animals at the National Zoo have shown signs of infection, officials said.

The United States Department of Agriculture has approved the use of a SARS-COV-2 vaccine made by Zoetis specifically for animals.

The first round of disbursement of the vaccine will be administered to selected animals identified as a susceptible species at both the Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia, when it becomes available in the coming months.

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