COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is mourning the loss of a 14-year-old Amur tiger who died after developing pneumonia caused by the COVID-19 virus.
The tiger, named Jupiter, was reported to be acting sick by his care team on June 22. Jupiter was not interested in eating and was reluctant to stand.
Jupiter's sickness continued into the next day and he was anesthetized for examination and treatment. The exams suggested an infection and treatment was started.
The zoo said the tiger's condition did not improve and remained reluctant to eat and move. He was given more treatments and more diagnostic testing was done.
Although Jupiter appeared stable, he passed away overnight on Sunday.
Jupiter is the first animal at the zoo to succumb to COVID-19, according to the zoo. The tiger had been on long-term treatment for chronic, underlying illnesses, which made him more susceptible to the virus.
Jupiter was born at the Moscow Zoo on July 9, 2007. He arrived at the Columbus Zoo after spending time at a zoo in the Czech Republic.
He sired nine cubs, six of which were born at the Columbus Zoo.
Jupiter's care team remembers him as a big and impressive tiger who loved to fish, sleep in the habitat's cave, play with cardboard boxes and playing with another favorite item — a 75-pound firehouse "plus sign" that was too heavy for zoo keepers to move, according to the zoo.
The zoo said they are requiring staff working with cats, great apes and mustelids to wear masks when within six feet of these animals since they are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.
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