Nine animals test positive for COVID-19 at Smithsonian’s National Zoo


WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDVM) — The Smithsonian National Zoo reported six African lions, two Amur tigers and a Sumatran tiger tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

The zoo says animal keepers noticed a decrease in appetite, sneezing, lethargy and coughing in several lions and tigers last week. It tested fecal samples, which showed presumptive positive test results. It’s been noted that the final results will come within the next few days.

All of the lions and tigers are being treated with anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory medication for the decrease in appetite and discomfort, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo. Staff will continue to observe and monitor the cats’ conditions.

The Smithsonian National Zoo states there’s no active public risk:

Given the substantial distance between the animals and visitors, the public is not at risk. No other animals at the Zoo are showing any signs of infection. 

The health and safety of Smithsonian staff, animals and visitors is our number one priority. The Zoo’s existing COVID-19 protocols restrict behind-the-scenes access in all animal areas and require use of personal protective equipment, hygiene, cleaning, employee self-screening and health management. The Zoo’s COVID safety and response protocols are in place and being strictly followed.  


The zoo conducted an investigation but there’s no evidence at this time to pinpoint the source of the infection.

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