, Calif. (AP) — A zoo
in the San Francisco
Bay Area is immunizing its big cats
, and ferrets against the coronavirus
as part of a national effort to protect animal species with an experimental vaccine
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, tigers Ginger and Molly were the first two animals
at the Oakland Zoo to receive the vaccine this week, which was donated and developed by the New Jersey-based veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis.
The zoo's vice president
of veterinary services, Alex Herman, said that while none of the animals had the virus, they wanted to be proactive. Tigers, black
and grizzly bears, mountain lions, and ferrets were the first to receive the first of two doses, followed by primates and pigs
She stated in a press release that the zoo has used social barriers and staff has worn protective gear to protect vulnerable species. “We’re happy and relieved to now be able to better protect our animals with this vaccine,” she said.
According to the press release, Zoetis is donating more than 11,000 doses for animals living in nearly 70 zoos, as well as a dozen conservatories, sanctuaries, academic institutions, and government organizations in 27 states
Following a COVID-19
outbreak among a troop of gorillas at its Safari Park in January, the San Diego
Zoo began immunizing primates.
Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in gorillas, tigers, and lions at zoos, as well as domestic cats and dogs
, which share 98% of their DNA with humans.