Officials at the Toronto Zoo are waiting on Canadian approval of a COVID-19 vaccine that can be administered to animals, CTV News Toronto reports.
If given the green light, caretakers hope to vaccinate about 140 animals - including big cats, swine, bats, and Mustelidae, including weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, and minks, among others.
All primates will also get the jab, given their high susceptibility to the disease. Toronto Zoo CEO Dolf DeJong told CTV the zoo is home to North America's oldest orangutan - 54-year-old Puppe, as well as to a 29-year-old pregnant orangutan.
A COVID-19 vaccine formulated for zoo animals is already approved in the U.S.
Currently, all (human) guests at the zoo require COVID-19 vaccinations, a policy that went into effect Monday.
Experts say COVID-19 is an example of a zoonotic spillover event, which occurs when a virus overcomes several roadblocks and becomes feasible in another species. COVID-19 is presumed to have transferred from bats to humans. Since then, COVID-19 has been detected in several animals, including primates, cats, mink, and deer.
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