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Gorillas test positive for coronavirus at San Diego park


 In what is believed to be the first confirmed cases of such primates in the United States and probably the world, multiple gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for the coronavirus.

 

On Monday, Lisa Peterson, the executive director of the park, told The Associated Press that eight gorillas living together in the park are suspected to have the virus and some have been coughing.

 

The infection seems to have come from a member of the wildlife care team in the park who also tested positive for the virus, but was asymptomatic and wore a mask around the gorillas at all times. As part of the state of California's lockdown efforts to curb coronavirus cases, the park has been closed to the public since Dec. 6.

 

Veterinarians are closely watching the gorillas and the preserve, north of San Diego, will remain in their habitat, Peterson said. Vitamins, fluid and food are being given to them for now, but no clear treatment for the virus.

 

"The gorillas are doing well, apart from some congestion and coughing," Peterson said.

 

Although the coronavirus from minks to tigers has been contracted by other wildlife, this is the first known instance of transmission to great apes and it is unclear whether they would have any serious reaction.

 

Wildlife experts have expressed concern about the coronavirus infecting gorillas, an endangered species that are inherently social animals and share 98.4 percent of their DNA with humans.

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