Tiger contracts coronavirus at New York zoo

A tiger at New York's Bronx Zoo has tested positive for coronavirus.

It is believed the four-year-old tiger contracted the virus from a caretaker who was asymptomatic at the time.

The Malayan tiger named Nadia along with her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions all developed dry coughs and are expected to fully recover, the Wildlife Conservation Society that runs the city's zoos said in a statement.

"We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution and will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world's continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus," the statement sent to AFP said.

Live blog: Coronavirus updates and breaking news from Australia

Nadia the tiger (pictured) has contracted coronavirus. Source: AFP
Nadia the tiger (pictured) has contracted coronavirus. Source: AFP

"Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers," the statement continued.

"It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries."

All four of the zoos and the aquarium in New York, whose virus death toll has topped 4,000, have been closed since March 16.

The zoo emphasised that there is "no evidence that animals play a role in the transmission of COVID-19 to people other than the initial event in the Wuhan market, and no evidence that any person has been infected with COVID-19 in the US by animals, including by pet dogs or cats."

Chinese disease control officials had identified wild animals sold in a Wuhan market as the source of the coronavirus pandemic that has infected well over one million people worldwide.

An ambulance goes inside the Bronx Zoo as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 5, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
An ambulance goes inside the Bronx Zoo as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease continues in the Bronx borough. Source: Reuters

According to the US Department of Agriculture website there had "not been reports of pets or other animals" in the United States falling ill with coronavirus prior to news of the tiger Nadia.

Leading experts in Australia previously told Yahoo News Australia there is no risk from contracting the virus from your pets or passing it on to them.

However the US Department of Agriculture says on its website that “people sick with COVID-19 should limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus”.

In late March a pet cat was discovered infected with the novel coronavirus in Belgium, following similar cases in Hong Kong where two dogs tested positive for COVID-19.

All of those animals are believed to have contracted the virus from the people they live with.

The Bronx zoo said preventative measures were in place for caretakers as well as all cats in the city's zoos.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.