November 11, 2021

Two Denver Zoo Hyenas Test Positive for COVID-19


On November 5, we confirmed that two of our hyenas—Ngozi, 22, and Kibo, 23—tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. The results were confirmed at the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Fort Collins, CO, as well as the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory. They are believed to be the first hyenas confirmed with COVID-19 worldwide.

Animal Care staff describe that both animals have extremely mild symptoms, including slight lethargy, some nasal discharge and occasional coughs. They have maintained normal energy levels, and interaction with enrichment and their keepers. Hyenas are famously tough, resilient animals that are known to be highly tolerant to anthrax, rabies and distemper. They are otherwise healthy and expected to make a full recovery.

Meanwhile, other animals at the Zoo that have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks have either already fully recovered or are on the path to a full recovery. Our two tigers—Yuri and Nikita—are clear of the virus and back to normal health, and our 11 lions are all either fully recovered or showing decreasing viral levels. We now know that many other species may be susceptible to COVID-19 based on multiple reports, and we continue to use the highest level of care and precaution when working with all of our 3,000 animals and 450 different species.



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