Back in January, eight gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive for COVID-19. Global Conservation and Wildlife Health Officer Nadine Lamberski told Insider in an interview that the “alarm bells” first went off when the zoo’s 49-year-old silverback gorilla named Winston started coughing a few days after finding out one of their wildlife care specialists had Covid-19.
Several great apes at the San Diego Zoo were given experimental COVID-19 vaccines for animals Wednesday morning, becoming the first known non-human primates to receive a vaccine in the US.
People were doing a lot of things simultaneously because they wanted to be prepared for any outcome. You know how it is to hope for the best but preparing for the worst.
Veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis developed the experimental vaccine, National Geographic reported, which is not built nor suitable for human use.
In total, nine great apes were administered the vaccine, including an orangutan named Karen, who was the first ape in the world to have open-heart surgery in 1994.
Little is currently known about the effect the coronavirus has on animals, though various animals, including cats and dogs, have tested positive for the virus in the past.
While zoo staff can take some comfort in knowing their gorillas are vaccinated, Lamberski thinks “that big sigh of relief isn’t going to come until our entire community is vaccinated, until the vaccine gets to, you know, remote communities all over the world, to areas where gorillas live in the wild.”
As the world is moving forward out of COVID, let’s hope that now people will have a greater understanding of the interdependency, that they are dependent on the health of nature, dependent on the health of wildlife and Our health is tied to all of it.