LINCOLN, Nebraska: The Lincoln Children's Zoo in Nebraska reports that three of its snow leopards have died from complications caused by COVID-19, adding that more animals have been infected.
In a statement on facebook, the zoo said, "This loss is truly heartbreaking, and we are all grieving together."
The three snow leopards, Ranney, Everest and Makalu, along with several Sumatran tigers, tested positive last month after some of the animals showed symptoms. They were treated with steroids and antibiotics, and the tigers seemed to have fully recovered, the zoo said on Friday.
"We conducted a thorough investigation of all staff that were in close proximity to the cats. There is no evidence to pinpoint the source of the infection," the zoo stated last month, after the infections were discovered.
The zoo's snow leopards were among several in the United States to contract COVID-19. Last year, Louisville Zoo's snow leopards all tested positive and recovered, while two snow leopards at the San Diego Zoo tested positive this summer, after zookeepers noticed them coughing.
Lions, tigers, gorillas and other animals have caught COVID-19 at zoos, with some cases being attributed to transmission from handlers.
Some zoos have vaccinated their animals, such as the the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, which gave 80 of its animals two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine created for veterinary use last month.
The Lincoln Children's Zoo has not said whether its animals were vaccinated, but it added, "The Lincoln Children's Zoo remains open to the public and continues to take every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to humans and animals."