In a statement issued this afternoon and available on its website, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans) a tiger at a zoo in New York. The USDA does not specify that it is the tiger at the Bronx Zoo. The USDA also reports this as the first instance of a tiger being infected with COVID-19. It says samples from this tiger were taken and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed symptoms of respiratory illness.
Our Ministry of Health is the authority for all matters concerning COVID-19. We are already in consultations with that Ministry on the likely impact for Trinidad and Tobago of this development at the Bronx Zoo.In the interim I can say that in March 2020 a decision was taken by the ZSTT in consultation with me to close the Emperor Valley Zoo to the public from Sunday March 15, 2020. It was decided that during the period of closure a reduced complement of employees would be retained to maintain the animals and do basic infrastructure work. This was a precautionary measure and, as it turns out, it was the correct thing to do.
A further statement on this matter would be provided by the Ministry of Health.
April 5, 2020