Two hippos from the Antwerp zoo, in northern Belgium, affected by colds, tested positive for Covid-19, announced the wildlife park that hosts them, specifying that it is the first time that this species has contracted the virus.
These animals always have wet noses, but “this time they expelled mucus that we have tested as a precaution,” zoo vet Francis Vercammen was quoted as saying in a note.
“I submitted the samples to the Covid-19 tests which gave a surprising result. As far as I know, this is the first contamination identified in this species.”
In the world – he specified – this virus was identified, among animals, mainly among great apes and cats.
The two hippos, two females, Hermien, 41, and her 14-year-old daughter, showed cold symptoms, and did not appear to be in pain.
As a precaution, the Antwerp Zoo decided to close the hippopotamus enclosure to visitors. People who failed to swab them tested negative for the virus. They must now wear additional protective devices and undergo a daily rapid test.
The origin of the contamination is not yet known