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Coronavirus: Great apes on lockdown over threat of disease


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It’s not known how the virus might affect great apes like gorillas

Great apes have been put on lockdown against the threat of coronavirus.

Gorilla tourism in Africa has been suspended, while sanctuaries for other apes, such as orangutans, have closed to the public.

It’s not known if great apes can contract the virus, but there are growing fears that our closest living relatives might be equally at risk.

This week a tiger at Bronx Zoo tested positive for coronavirus.

New measures have been put in place to protect big cats and their caregivers.

Dr Kirsten Gilardi is chief veterinary officer for Gorilla Doctors, which provides veterinary care to gorillas in the forests of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“We don’t know if it’s infected mountain gorillas; we have not seen any evidence of that,” she said. “But because mountain gorillas are susceptible to human pathogens, we know that they can develop respiratory illness.”

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The new virus is part of the coronavirus family, which includes the…



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