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A tiger held in captivity at the Bronx Zoo, in New York, has fallen ill with the coronavirus. Chief veterinarian at the zoo, Dr Paul Calle, believes that she caught it from a zookeeper.

Nadia, the four-year-old Malayan tiger, lives with four other tigers in the zoo’s Tiger Mountain enclosure. All but one of them are sick, and a number of the lions kept here are also showing signs of respiratory illness.

Meanwhile, a pair of pandas at Ocean Park, in Hong Kong, has mated for the first time in their 13 years of confinement together. Pandas find it extremely difficult to reproduce in captivity, and in the past ten years, all efforts to get this pair to breed have failed. The park has not been receiving visitors since it closed in January as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. It seems that wild animals might prefer to be left alone.

Keeping wild animals in captivity can expose them to human sicknesses, and they struggle to reproduce in captivity. Keeping wild animals in zoos is fundamentally wrong.

“Keeping wild animals in zoos and petting farms for human enjoyment is simply wrong,” said David Barritt, Network for Animals (NFA)’s executive director. “Humans inflicting the coronavirus on animals that should be in the wild is another example of the inherent cruelty in any zoo. We urge people not to visit zoos or support them in any way. They should all be closed.”


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