The first wild animal to be infected was a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger, who tested positive on April 5.
“Samples for testing from the tiger, Nadia, were collected from her nose, throat, and respiratory tract while she was under anesthesia,” the zoo said in a news release.
“Subsequently, we can confirm that the three other tigers in Tiger Mountain and the three African lions that exhibited a cough have also tested positive for COVID-19,” the zoo said, adding that another tiger at Tiger Mountain also tested positive for the virus, who had not developed symptoms at the time.
There are now a total of eight known infected wild animals.
According to the release, the tests were done out of caution and the testing of the wild animals was done in veterinary laboratories using fecal sample tests.
The cats are believed to have been infected by a zoo staff member who “was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms.”
Zoo officials reported that all eight cats are doing well, with normal behaviors, good appetite, and reduced coughs.
Other zoo animals including snow leopards, cheetahs, clouded leopard, Amur leopard, and puma did not show any signs of illness.
Though it is becoming clear that humans can pass on the virus to some animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no clear evidence that animals can spread the disease to humans.
In addition to the seven wild animal cases, two pet cats were also reported to have been infected by the CCP virus on the same day.
According to The Epoch Times, they are the first pets in the United States to test positive.