Winnipeg’s zoo has started vaccinating some of its animals against COVID-19.
The Assiniboine Park Zoo said Tuesday that it’s planning to vaccinate a total of 55 animals across species including Amur tigers, snow leopards, white-handed gibbons, squirrel monkeys, camels, goats, llamas, meerkats and more.
The species that have the closest interactions with human caregivers are most at risk, as are cats and primates in general.
“Vaccination is a very common, safe and effective way of protecting animals in human care from a variety of illnesses,” the zoo’s director of veterinary services and animal welfare, Chris Enright, said in a statement.
“In addition to other biosecurity protocols we have in place here at the zoo, vaccination against COVID-19 adds another layer of protection for the most vulnerable species in our care.”
Enright said while there haven’t been any cases of COVID-19 diagnosed among Winnipeg’s animals, the virus has been found in other zoos — in some cases with fatal consequences.
Assiniboine Park is one of a number of zoological facilities in Canada using a vaccine made specifically for animals against COVID-19. The animals will be receiving two doses, three weeks apart.