By Jeff Gurney

DENVER (CBS4) – COVID-19 has infected the lions at the Denver Zoo. Zookeepers are caring for 11 African lions that have tested positive for the delta variant.

(credit: Denver Zoo)

Keeper say they’ve observed them coughing, sneezing and acting lethargic.

The lions are between 1 to 9 years old.

(credit: Denver Zoo)

The zoo has taken safety precautions since the pandemic started.

Brian Aucone, Senior Vice President for Life Sciences for the Zoo says lions across the country have gotten COVID. In a release Aucone says, “Fortunately, the vast majority have fully recovered, and the upside is that there’s an established knowledge base for us to draw from to help treat our animals. We’ve been in touch with other zoos that have also recently managed COVID cases in their big cats to inform the care we’re providing.”

The lions at the Denver Zoo have not been vaccinated.

Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins conducted swab tests. The results were also confirmed positive by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

Zookeepers will watch their behavior and symptoms.

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Jeff Gurney