A zoo located in Boise, Idaho, is vaccinating its animals against the coronavirus.
Zoo Boise has already vaccinated nearly half of its animals in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, according to The Associated Press.
The zoo started providing animals with two-dose series of the vaccine last year, beginning with those at the highest risk for contracting COVID-19. Hoofed animals, primates and otters were among the first to be vaccinated, along with animals that had close contact with zoo-goers, the wire service noted.
“For example, our farm animals. We have a feeding program with guests that visit the zoo, so all of those animals were put into that first phase,” Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said, according to local news station KIVI-TV.
According to Halloway, none of the animals at Zoo Boise have tested positive for the coronavirus so far.
“Our top priority is keeping our employees safe, and so if that means we needed to vaccinate animals in order to be certain there is no exchange between them and our staff, that is a top priority. Our animals mean a lot to us and mean a lot to the community, and they are a part of our family as well and so anything we can do to add an extra layer of protection to our animals, we want to do that,” Holloway told KIVI-TV.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that there is low risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to humans but that it is a possibility. A snow leopard at the Illinois Zoo and three snow leopards at a Nebraska zoo died from complications with the virus, according to the AP.