Tiger at Ohio Zoo Dies After Contracting COVID-19

A 14-year-old Amur tiger at an Ohio zoo died Sunday after developing pneumonia that was caused by COVID-19.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced the death of Jupiter in a Facebook post. The zoo said the tiger had been undergoing treatment for chronic underlying illnesses that made him more susceptible to the virus.

Jupiter began showing signs of illness on June 22, when he stopped eating and was reluctant to stand, move or interact with keepers, zoo officials said.

“When this continued into the next day, Jupiter was anesthetized for examination and treatment,” the zoo wrote. “Initial exams suggested an infection, and treatment was started. Unfortunately, Jupiter did not improve with this treatment and remained reluctant to move and eat.”

This is the first animal at the zoo to die from complications caused by COVID-19.

Animals at the Louisville Zoo that are susceptible to COVID are received their first dose of the COVID vaccine Friday.

Jupiter was born in Moscow, Russia and arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2015 from the Czech Republic, where he spent time at the Zoo Dvur Kralove. The tiger sired nine cubs during his life at the Clumbus Zoo, including six that were born in central Ohio.

Columbus Zoo officials said that cats, great apes, and mustelids like otters and wolverines are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 than other animals.

Jupiter’s care team remembered him as a “big and impressive tiger who loved fish, sleeping in the habitat’s cave, playing with cardboard boxes, and interacting with another favorite item—a 75-pound firehouse ‘plus sign’ that was heavy for keepers to move but something he carried around like it weighed nothing.” 

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