The eight-member troop had been out of view to visitors after contracting the SARS-CᴏV-2 ᴠɪʀᴜs in January. During that time, they received care from experts in both human and veterinary medicine.
The troop was probably exposed to the ᴄᴏʀᴏɴᴀᴠɪʀᴜs by a keeper who ᴛᴇsᴛᴇᴅ ᴘᴏsɪᴛɪᴠᴇ in early January. Although zoo employees followed recommended biosecurity precautions, some staff members ᴛᴇsᴛᴇᴅ ᴘᴏsɪᴛɪᴠᴇ for the ᴠɪʀᴜs on Jan. 11, zoo officials said.
Shortly afterward, several gorillas began coughing, and all the troop members appeared ʟᴇᴛʜᴀʀɢic, said Lisa Peterson, executive director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Park staff tested the animals’ ғᴇᴄᴀʟ samples for the ᴄᴏʀᴏɴᴀᴠɪʀᴜs and received positive results for the so-called California variant, a fast-spreading strain linked to cases in San Diego and elsewhere in the state. The animals recuperated while the veterinary team monitored them for symptoms including coughing, congestion, nasal discharge and ʟᴇᴛʜᴀʀɢy.
“We’re so grateful for the outpouring of concern and support we’ve received while the troop safely recovered,” Lisa Peterson said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to share the joy that this beloved troop brings to our community and to our guests.”
San Diego Zoo Safari Park (@sdzsafaripark) Tweeted:
“Great news! Our gorilla troop has made a full recovery from SARS-CᴏV-2, the ᴠɪʀᴜs that causes COVID-19 in humans. Starting today, our guests can once again connect with these primates and learn ways they can help save this important species.”
The conservation organization joined forces with more than a dozen local, state and national leaders in the medical, scientific, zoological and public health communities to treat the apes.
Guests can visit the gorilla troop at their home in the safari park’s Gorilla Forest. The primates, off public view while they recuperated, are ready for visitors.