First U.S. case of COVID-19 confirmed in cougars at In-Sync Exotics in Wylie

WYLIE, TX – March 22, 2021 – In a growing number of species affected by the COVID-19 virus, a cougar at In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Educational Center in Wylie, TX has tested positive as the first cougar in the United States, with only one other case being reported in South Africa.

While sedated for routine medical check-ups, In-Sync Exotics’ veterinarian performed a nasopharyngeal swab to test for the presence of COVID-19. The results came back positive. Additionally, three tigers also tested positive. COVID-19 is spread via droplets in the air either by sneezing or coughing. All four exotic cats are doing well and exhibiting no symptoms. The cats are all being closely monitored by In-Sync Exotics’ veterinarian, staff, and volunteers. While the cougar may be the first of its species, there have been many other tigers, lions, and various other exotic animals across the country that have also tested positive for COVID-19.

Safety measures, instituted at the beginning of the pandemic, include mandatory face masks by all staff, volunteers, and visitors over the age of three. Weekly COVID-19 testing is conducted on all staff members. In-Sync Exotics is an outdoor experience for all visitors, with two fences between visitors and the cats and no direct contact allowed.

No cases of transmission of the COVID-19 virus from feline to human or interspecies from feline to other species have been documented.

About In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Educational Center

In-Sync Exotics, a non-profit organization established in 2000, is dedicated to the rescue of neglected, abused, and unwanted exotic felines. American Sanctuary Association (ASA) accredited, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) verified, and a member of Tigers in America, In-Sync Exotics provides the highest quality care for the 71 exotic animals that reside at the sanctuary.

Submitted press release, edited for publication by Blue Ribbon News. 

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