Tallinn Zoo chimps awaiting second coronavirus dose

Quincy, a chimpanzee at Tallinn Zoo.
Quincy, a chimpanzee at Tallinn Zoo. Source: Inari Leiman/Tallinna loomaaed

Tallinn Zoo chimpanzees Betty and Quincy might be the only zoo residents in Europe to be vaccinated against the coronavirus and are now waiting for their second dose.

Investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress (link in Estonian) wrote on Wednesday that Betty and Quincy could be the only zoo residents in Europe to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Primates have been reported to test positive for the coronavirus worldwide and some animals in Tallinn Zoo have also been confirmed to have had the infection.

"If the chimpanzees fall seriously ill, it means they will likely die. You cannot put a wild animal under an IV or send them to recover under a ventilator - they get aggressive," said Estonian University of Life Sciences animal clinic chief physician Aleksandr Semjonov, adding that if people lose their appetite while ill, they can still be administered medication. It is not the same case for animals.

The chimps were administered vaccines left over from general population vaccinations as part of a complete health check four weeks ago. Both primates were administered Pfizer vaccines.

Aleksandr Semjonov said he is on "stand-by" this week in the hopes of there being leftover doses available since the zoo only has two chimps.

In January of this year, Tallinn Zoo's male asiatic lion Juna died at 17 years old due to renal failure, a frequent issue among older felines. An autopsy uncovered that the lion was also carrying the coronavirus. Semjonov said the zoo has no clue where the large cat contracted the virus.

Chimpanzee at Tallinn Zoo. Source: Tallinn Zoo


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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