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Abilene Zoo animals receive COVID vaccine

Animals vulnerable to COVID-19 are big cats like lions and jaguars; giraffes; primates like lemurs and colobus monkeys; and mustelids like otters and ferrets.
Credit: Abilene Zoo

ABILENE, Texas — The Abilene Zoo announced Friday its participation in the administration of the Zoetis vaccine to help prevent COVID-19 in its animal collection.

Of the 850 animals the Abilene Zoo cares for on a daily basis, 48 animals in its collection have been designated vulnerable to COVID-19.

Animals vulnerable to COVID-19 are big cats such as lions and jaguars, giraffes; primates such as howler, lemurs and colobus monkeys; and mustelids such as otters and ferrets.

“The health and safety of our animals is of the utmost importance,” Denise Ibarra, general curator, said. “If there are any chances at better protecting members of our collection, we seize those opportunities.”

According to an Abilene Zoo press release, after administering the first dose on Oct. 1, the veterinary and animal care staff have noticed zero side effects and zero adverse reactions. The second round of the Zeotis vaccine is scheduled in two weeks.

Zoetis launched the vaccine deployment to dozens of zoos after following a request from the San Diego Zoo, which confirmed COVID-19 cases in its gorillas troop in January.