Phoenix Zoo vaccinates susceptible animals against COVID-19

 By ANITA SNOW , Associated Press 6 hrs agoAniston: Film business isn’t as glamorous as it once wasGhislaine Maxwell trial halted as lawyer falls illIn this Nov. 24, 2021 photo provided by the Phoenix Zoo, staff at the Phoenix Zoo deliver a COVID-19 vaccination to an Emperor tamarin, a small primate, at the Animal Care Center at the Phoenix Zoo in Phoenix, Ariz. The zoo is the latest in the United States to vaccinate species most susceptible to getting COVID-19 from close contact with people. (Linda Hardwick/Phoenix Zoo via AP)© Provided by Associated Press In this Nov. 24, 2021 photo provided by the Phoenix Zoo, staff at the Phoenix Zoo deliver a COVID-19 vaccination to an Emperor tamarin, a small primate, at the Animal Care Center at the Phoenix Zoo in Phoenix, Ariz. The zoo is the latest in the United States to vaccinate species most susceptible to getting COVID-19 from close contact with people. (Linda Hardwick/Phoenix Zoo via AP)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Zoo is the latest among several dozen in the United States to vaccinate animals considered susceptible to getting COVID-19 from close contact with people.

Big cats such as Sumatran tigers, jaguars and African lions; many of the zoo’s primates like Bornean orangutans and tiny emperor tamarins; and Egyptian fruit bats, armadillos and two-toed sloths are among the 75 animals that have already received their first shots.In this Nov. 29, 2021, photo provided by the Phoenix Zoo, Josh Crabtree, manager of ambassador animal resources at the zoo, holds an Egyptian fruit bat waiting to get its COVID-19 inoculation at the Phoenix Zoo in Phoenix Ariz. The zoo is the latest in the United States to vaccinate species most susceptible to getting COVID-19 from close contact with people. (Linda Hardwick/Phoenix Zoo via AP)© Provided by Associated Press In this Nov. 29, 2021, photo provided by the Phoenix Zoo, Josh Crabtree, manager of ambassador animal resources at the zoo, holds an Egyptian fruit bat waiting to get its COVID-19 inoculation at the Phoenix Zoo in Phoenix Ariz. The zoo is the latest in the United States to vaccinate species most susceptible to getting COVID-19 from close contact with people. (Linda Hardwick/Phoenix Zoo via AP)

Veterinarian Dr. Gary West, the zoo’s senior vice president of animal health and living collections, said Thursday that staff members are now giving the second jabs that will serve as boosters and should keep them protected for a year.

The big cats were vaccinated from a distance with the use of darts.

“They take it way better than people do,” West said of the animals. “They don’t like it, but they bounce right back and go back to their lives.”

There have been no cases of coronavirus infection detected among Phoenix Zoo animals

The vaccine being used at the Phoenix Zoo was developed specifically for animals by Zoetis, a global animal health company based in in New Jersey that donated the doses. The vaccine is authorized for emergency use to protect endangered species.

West said the Phoenix Zoo has been taking precautions to protect the animals throughout the pandemic with distancing and protective equipment. The inoculations should give the most susceptible animals an added layer of protection, he said

Zoetis first got a permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture early this year to provide the doses on an experimental basis to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where a troop of western lowland gorillas in January became the first apes known to test positive for the coronavirus.

There have only been a few known cases of zoo animal deaths from COVID-19 complications, including three rare snow leopards that died recently at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska.

Zoos across the country, including at the St. Louis Zoo and the Denver Zoo, have recently grappled with COVID-19 outbreaks among their animals.

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