Audubon Zoo’s orangutans and gorillas are currently awaiting their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Audubon Nature Institute website states that Audubon plans to also vaccinate cats, mustelids and otters at Audubon Zoo of the Americas as part of its next series of vaccinations.
Zoetis has donated more than 11,000 doses COVID-19 vaccinations to help safeguard the health and well being of more 100 mammalian species found in almost 70 zoos and more than a dozen conservatories.
According to CBS NewsThe zoo will now join a number of other aquariums and zoos throughout the U.S. in vaccinating their animals against COVID-19.
The United States Department of Agriculture has authorized the use of the new vaccine on a case by case basis.
Bob MacLean, Audubon’s Senior Veterinarian, stated that it was very important for them to protect their animals from COVID-19 or the Delta variant. “We have been reviewing the scientific literature regarding animal susceptibility during the pandemic and are keen to protect our animals.
Zoetis’ Michigan-based research and development team used decades of experience in developing coronavirus vaccines that are safe for dogs, cats, birds, and cattle.
According to Zoetis’ COVID-19 website, it is unique in that it was formulated specifically for animals. It does not take from the human doses.
MacLean said that even though there are not many long-term studies of the virus, Zoetis’ development studies have shown the vaccine to work in animals and be safe.
All the animals at the Zoo and Aquarium receive vaccines voluntarily through positive reinforcement training. They are not given anesthesia for their vaccinations.
Audubon Nature Institute says that they are trained to be able to sit, stand, and present their bodies during health checks.
Since the beginning of the pandemic the strictest PPE protocols were followed by all animal care staff who are working around animals most at risk.
As a precautionary measure, all otter and giraffe feedings at the Zoo are halted.
“This proactive step is an additional layer in protection. MacLean stated that the health of animals, staff, guests, and other guests is our highest priority.