Captive gorillas caught COVID-19. Here’s how to protect endangered species
As COVID-19 sweeps across the world, it is not only human populations that are under threat. It has long been suspected that the SARS-CoV2 virus that is responsible for the current pandemic could have the potential to transmit to our closest living relatives, great apes. Great apes include chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans, which share roughly 98% of their DNA with humans.
Recent reports state that gorillas in San Diego Zoo have tested positive for the virus, compounding fears that the pandemic could have devastating consequences for wildlife and, particularly, endangered species. These are the first known cases of transmission to great apes, and the seventh animal species to contract COVID-19 after tigers, lions, snow leopards, mink, dogs and cats.