We are beginning to see some movement toward normalcy here in America after spending over a year conducting a “two-week lockdown” to “flatten the curve.” But the latest development raises the question of how soon will we see headlines on cable news tracking the number of otters who caught COVID-19 (and will they find a way to blame Trump the way they lied about the way he handled the pandemic in humans?). Georgia Aquarium otters COVID
Sadly, headlines will do little for the sick otters at the Georgia Aquarium.
According to their press release:
“Our Asian small-clawed otters are under very close monitoring by veterinarians and animal care team members. They have displayed only mild symptoms and we expect them all to make a full recovery,” said Dr. Tonya Clauss, vice president of animal and environmental health at Georgia Aquarium. “We are providing supportive care as needed so they can eat, rest and recover.”
The decision to test the Asian small-clawed otters for COVID-19 was made based on the clinical signs in the entire group. Georgia Aquarium veterinarians consulted with the state veterinarians’ office and the department of health.
Despite following all recommended health and safety protocols, it is suspected the otters may have acquired the infection from an asymptomatic staff member. Out of an abundance of caution, all staff who have been in contact with the otters have been tested. The risk of animal-to-human transmission is incredibly rare. The Asian small-clawed otters at the Aquarium do not have direct contact with guests and have always been behind acrylic barriers, separating them from guests. The otters will continue to be monitored and once they are no longer positive for COVID-19, it will then be determined when they will go back on exhibit.
Staff believes that asymptomatic members of the aquarium team may have spread the virus to the otters, who are currently “behind the scenes” and not in their exhibition area.
Please note it is not true that NY Governor Andrew Cuomo is demanding the Georgia Aquarium send the sick otters to an old age home for aquarium animals, nor is he trying to pet the female otters.
Parts of this post were first seen at Flag and Cross.
Georgia Aquarium otters
Georgia Aquarium otters COVID