Nadine Lamberski, chief conservation and wildlife health officer at the zoo told National Geographic, “This isn’t the norm. In my career, I haven’t had access to an experimental vaccine this early in the process and haven’t had such an overwhelming desire to want to use one.”
The desire came after eight gorillas at the same zoo tested positive for the virus that is dominating human lives all over the world. Fortunately, they are now recovering.
One of the apes inoculated, an orangutan named Karen, was the first ape ever to have open-heart surgery, according to National Geographic.
She was vaccinated along with three other orangutans and five bonobos. All were given two doses of the Zoetis engineered vaccine, specifically created for animals. They will be later tested for antibodies to see if the move worked.
This came after findings that prove they were vulnerable to being infected by the virus and were given priority due to both having endangered species status.
The zoo is home to 14 great apes and is working towards conservation efforts so therefore it felt important to protect them, stopping a spread amongst their animals. Plans are motion to give more doses to the zoo’s apes.
Other animals have been confirmed to be susceptible to contracting coronavirus, such as cats, dogs, minks, tigers and lions.