Fourteen-year-old tiger dies after catching Covid at Ohio zoo

The Amur tiger Jupiter died after contracting Covid-19 and developing pneumonia at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (Pictures: Facebook)

A 14-year-old tiger has died at a zoo after contracting the coronavirus, which caused him to develop pneumonia.

Jupiter the Amur tiger died on Sunday at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio.

The tiger first began appearing unwell on June 22, when he was not interested in eating and did not want to stand, move or interact with keepers, the zoo shared on on Wednesday.

‘When this continued into the next day, Jupiter was anesthetized for examination and treatment. Initial exams suggested an infection, and treatment was started,’ wrote the zoo. ‘Unfortunately, Jupiter did not improve with this treatment and remained reluctant to move and eat.’

The next day, Jupiter underwent more treatments and testing.

‘Although he appeared stable, Jupiter passed away overnight,’ the zoo stated.

Jupiter, who was undergoing long-term treatment for underlying chronic illnesses, is the first animal at the zoo to die of Covid-19.

‘As a precautionary measure, we are requiring staff working with cats, great apes and mustelids (i.e., otters, wolverines) to wear masks when within six feet of these animals,’ the zoo stated. ‘These animals are more susceptible to contracting Covid-19.’

Jupiter was born at Moscow Zoo in July 2007, spent some time at the Zoo Dvur Kralove in the Czech Republic and arrived at the Columbus zoo in March 2015.

He sired nine cubs, six of which were born in Columbus. Jupiter was friendly toward the female tigers Mara and Natasha.

‘Jupiter’s care team remembers him as a big and impressive tiger who loved fish, sleeping in the habitat’s cave, playing with cardboard boxes, and interacting with another favorite item—a 75-pound firehouse “plus sign” that was heavy for keepers to move,’ the zoo stated, ‘But something he carried around like it weighed nothing.’

Jupiter is the latest large cat to die of Covid-19. In June 2021, a nine-year-old after an outbreak at Vandalur Zoo in India.

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